Mental health tops Londoners’ wish list for extra NHS investment


Londoners think mental healthcare should be prioritised and given the most additional NHS funding and support over the next five years according to a survey released today.

Nearly a third (31%) of Londoners surveyed said that it was mental health which should be the focus of additional investment and support until 2026. This was more than double the number of Londoners who said it should be cancer (15%) which receives extra funds.

After cancer, Londoners chose accident and emergency (6%), community health (5%), older people’s health (4%) and dental/eye care. Just 4% of Londoners felt that coronavirus should get additional funds.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, agreed that properly funded services were vital:

“Properly resourced services should be a top priority over the coming years if we’re to recover from the blow that the pandemic has dealt to the nation’s mental health. Government must ensure services have the funding and workforce they need to care for those needing help with a mental illness, and that investment in the mental health estate is also prioritised to support this.”

The survey was commissioned by Barts Charity to mark the launch of a public awareness campaign to encourage support for the NHS. The campaign, which will run across East London until September, will depict celebrities alongside NHS staff and members of the local community on giant advertising billboards, buses, and at Tube ticket gates.

Those taking part include West Ham United captain Mark Noble, Professor Chloe Orkin who is leading ground-breaking research into HIV, and Erkan Mustafa, the actor who played Roland in the TV show Grange Hill and who now works in the patient transport team at Newham Hospital. Staff, patients and East London community members are encouraged to sign up for a specially commissioned badge to show their support and solidarity for the NHS.

The survey found that overall Londoners’ perception of the NHS had dramatically improved over the past year. More than a third of Londoners (38%) said that they now had a better opinion than before, with nearly a third (29%) saying they were now more likely to donate to a NHS charity than they were previously.

Around four in ten (38%) said that their opinion of the NHS was about the same, while perhaps more surprisingly, one in five (19%) Londoners said that their opinion had deteriorated since April 2020.

Fiona Miller Smith, chief executive of Barts Charity, said:

“What our hospital colleagues have been through during the past year, and the way they’ve responded, has been truly awe inspiring. We’ve seen first-hand how tirelessly they’ve worked in the most challenging of circumstances, and we owe them an awful lot.

“As we dare to look beyond the pandemic, our staff and hospitals will still be there for us, and Barts Charity will still be here for them – supporting staff mental health, funding new equipment, and delivering ground-breaking medical research into the illnesses that disproportionately affect our local communities.

“I will be wearing my badge as a mark of appreciation for all that has been achieved in the most challenging of circumstances, and as a sign of hope for the future. I urge others to join me in getting their own badge, and wearing it with similar pride.”

To sign up for a free Barts Charity badge go to