Nine in 10 people believe the NHS should be free at the point of delivery, finds survey

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23rd February 2023 18:26 - Health

Nine in 10 people believe the NHS should be free at the point of delivery: A survey of people in England has shone a light on how they view the NHS and how it should operate, with 90% saying that NHS healthcare should be free at the point of delivery.

In addition, 89% said that the NHS should provide a comprehensive service available to everyone, while 84% believe that the NHS should be funded primarily through taxation.

The survey from Ipsos and the Health Foundation polled over 2,000 people aged 16 and above in November last year. It also asked questions around the government's handling of the NHS, with polling revealing that support for government in this area among people in England is the lowest in two decades.

Just one in 10 people across the UK as a whole are in agreeance that the government has the correct policies in place to support the NHS, falling to just 8% in England. This compares to 28% in Scotland and 19% in Wales. Just 15 years ago in 2008/9 the proportion believing the policies were right in England was 37% - showing a huge fall in confidence.

The research found that in November 2022, just 33% of the UK respondents polled said they believe the NHS is providing a ‘good service’ nationally, a steep fall of ten percentage points since the previous survey in May 2022 (43%) – just six months earlier.

When asked about the future health of the NHS, 62% said they believe things will get even worse over the next 12 months, a considerable increase from the 39% who said the same in May 2022.

How can the issues be addressed?

When asked how they believe the government can fix the issues facing the NHS, 82% said more funding is needed, with the top priorities listed being to address the ongoing pressure faced by current NHS staff (40%), increasing the number of staff (39%) and improving patient waiting times for treatment (35%).

Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said of the research:

"There has been much debate in recent months about changing the NHS funding model – such as charging for GP appointments or a switch to social insurance. As well as being a costly distraction, there is no evidence voters want a radical change to the NHS model, they just want the current one to work better."

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