The findings come from Deloitte and Reform’s annual report on government and public services, ‘The State of the State 2021-22’, which includes a survey by Ipsos MORI of 420 adults, in NI, aged 16-75 years.
In the report, people in NI powerfully said healthcare should be prioritised for public spending in 2022, with 70% identifying it as a top priority.
Marie Doyle, director at Deloitte, said: “Northern Ireland’s public sector has spent the past year dealing with the same pandemic challenges as the rest of the UK. But in the background, its political complexities and its unique position in the EU exit continue to set the region apart.
“There is concern that with all of the focus on the contentious NI Protocol, the pandemic and economic recovery plans, along with other pressing issues, the necessary reform will not proceed at the pace required.
“Politicians and officials agree that health and social care reform must be a top priority and while debates in other parts of the UK often focus on funding, leaders in Northern Ireland believe we must now invest in transformation across the system to avoid an unaffordable system into the future.
“Many want to see the ambitious proposals of Bengoa’s 2016 report implemented after a combination of the Executive’s collapse and the pandemic response resulted in progress being stalled. Whether there is the political will or structures in place to make this happen is the big question.”
People in NI have been left more pessimistic for the future, than those in other parts of the UK, across a range of issues after the pandemic.