Do Healthcare Professionals Trust the Healthcare System?

*The translation of this article in French, Spanish, and German has been made through machine translation and has not been edited yet. we apologise for any inaccuracies.

Trust Is Becoming Increasingly Recognised as a Central Aspect of a Well-Functioning Healthcare System, Particularly Since the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Recent studies show that the increasing politicisation of public health and the spread of false or misleading health information has caused a global decline in public trust in the healthcare system. According to the findings from Edelman Trust Barometer 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly resulted in less confidence in the healthcare system and people feel less confident in making informed health decisions. 

Building and maintaining a healthy relationship between patients and healthcare providers is crucial for healthcare organisations as their level of trust has a direct impact on health decisions, behaviours, and outcomes. When patients have confidence and trust in their clinicians and healthcare systems it gives rise to higher rates of regular health check-ups, treatment adherence, vaccine acceptance and patient satisfaction.

But what happens if healthcare professionals don´t trust in their healthcare systems? 

A research review made by AcademyHealth in 2021 indicates that the majority of research projects that focus on trust and trust issues within healthcare mainly examine patients’ and caregivers’ trust in in clinicians and healthcare delivery systems. Very few research projects are dedicated to understanding what level of trust healthcare professionals have in their employers, patients, and the healthcare system at large.

The number of projects focusing on clinicians’ trust in others was limited, despite their integral role in building trust. We need clinicians to trust not only in their patients but also in their organisations, the broader health care system, and each other if we are going to transform care. The issue of trust is complex, reciprocal, and dynamic and thus must be addressed at multiple levels."

trust in the healthcare system

Healthcare Industry Stability Survey: The Voice of Thousands of Healthcare Professionals About Trust in the Healthcare System

Ultimately, trust generates stability in the healthcare industry. As the world´s largest healthcare professional panel, M3 Global Research wanted to make sure to take part in the discussion about `Healthcare professionals trust in the healthcare system by giving a voice to our M3 panel members around the world.

To understand how they feel about their local and national healthcare systems, what their concerns are and if it affects their career paths, we conducted a ´Healthcare Industry Stability´ survey. How confident are healthcare professionals about their sector’s stability? See what thousands of healthcare professionals think in the full results below. 


USA, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland.


10,200 Healthcare Professionals

Research Period

March - June 2022

Healthcare professionals’ level of confidence in their local and national healthcare system can improve, as most report feeling only `somewhat confident´.

On a scale from `not confident at all´ to `very confident´, most healthcare professionals report feeling `somewhat confident´ in both their local and national healthcare systems. They tend to feel slightly more confident in their local healthcare systems (45 percent) compared to their national healthcare systems (42 percent). 

Some of the main concerns healthcare professionals have with their local healthcare system are staffing issues and unreasonable workloads.

Within the top 6 main concerns, 26 percent of the respondents are concerned about their daily work environment and work tasks such as `unreasonable workloads´ (9 percent), `too many bureaucratic tasks´ (9 percent) and `lack of respect from colleagues and employers´ (8 percent). 18 percent are concerned that not enough resources are provided by their local healthcare system in terms of `staffing issues´ (11 percent) and `insufficient compensation´ (7 percent). 

One third of healthcare professionals report that their confidence in the healthcare system has affected their career plans.

31 percent of the respondents have adjusted their career plans in healthcare due to their level of confidence in their healthcare system, while 41 percent report that it has not affected their career plans.  

The number of healthcare professionals who are very optimistic about the future of their national health systems is low.

When asked about how optimistic they feel about the future of their national healthcare system within the next five years, 36 percent, which is the highest percentage of respondents, answered that they are `somewhat pessimistic´.  24 percent feel `somewhat optimistic´ and 23 percent feel `neutral´. Less than 20 percent of respondents feel either `very pessimistic´ (12 percent) or `very optimistic´ (5 percent).

The results indicated that more research and global industry solutions are needed to build more confidence and trust in healthcare systems among healthcare professionals. Physicians, nurses, and all other healthcare providers are key drivers of patients’ health outcomes in public healthcare. To address the critical and underlying importance of trust in healthcare systems and build a stable healthcare ecosystem, healthcare professionals cannot be overlooked. They need to feel confident and satisfied with the systems they work in to deliver the highest possible quality of care. Providing support, a healthy work environment, and sufficient resources (such as time/ information/ compensation) are going to be crucial to build more trust and maintaining an effective workforce within the healthcare industry.  

Recommended related articles:

Public health and politicization of healthcare

The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major changes the healthcare ecosystem, patient delivery, and public health messaging around the world. Read more.

The Politicisation of Healthcare During the Pandemic

misleading health information

Misleading health information not only poses a risk for the general public as a group, but it can also have effects on the individual’s psychological well-being and general health. Read more.

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  1. I have 40 yrs of experience and YES trust is now a big issue. To get good medical care is a real task. People are burnt out, don’t do a real good job and treat and street. There are a minority of good providers.

  2. Working in the operating room I have seen the push for increased caseloads and the attempt to speed up every process – whether it can be sped up or not. Typical example is the patient is still having their wound closed, and the front desk will call back to see when the next patient can come back!!
    Imagine if you had to ask to empty your bladder between cases. The whole system would have to come to a screeching halt!

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