Tax rises to support NHS backed by two-thirds of public

CREDIT: This story was first seen on the National Health Executive

The National Health Executive writes that around two-thirds of adults in the UK are willing to pay more taxes to support the struggling NHS, it has been revealed.

Research conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the King’s Fund set out to get a picture of the changing relationship between the public and the NHS, and how people in the UK felt the NHS crisis should be addressed.

The overwhelming majority (90%) of the 1,151 adults interviewed said they supported the founding principles of the NHS, while 77% stated that the health service should be maintained in its current form.

And 66% said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to support the NHS. But only 20% said they were in favour of spending cuts to services like welfare and education to boost funding for the health service, and only 10% felt the NHS should reduce its range of services or the level of care to save money.

Roughly 67% added that treatments and services should only be available on the NHS if they are available to everyone, and not dependant on where people live – whilst 31% thought that treatments and services should be based on local need.

Three in 10 respondents thought decisions about the availability of treatments and services should be left solely to healthcare professionals, while 56% added that they would at least like to be consulted on decisions that are made.

“These findings add weight to the argument that the public are ready for a debate about increasing taxation to pay for the NHS and what form these tax increases might take, with previous research suggesting that increasing National Insurance may be more popular than raising Income Tax,” the report read.

“This research indicates that public support for the NHS remains as strong as ever. It is worth reflecting again on the very high levels of support for the founding principles and the extent to which the public think they should still apply to the modern NHS.

“It is hard to think of another public service or national institution that would produce similar findings.

“The polling suggests that there is scope for a serious debate about raising taxes to increase spending on the NHS, and about what people can expect from the NHS, their own obligations and responsibilities.”

This latest piece of research adds to growing evidence that the public would be happy to pay more to improve the state of the NHS.

In May, the Health Foundation also found that raising taxes would be a measure supported by most in the UK to prop up the health service. And a similar report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) revealed that most of the public wanted more money to be spent on the NHS – even if that meant taxes being put up.

A Department of Health spokesperson said it was encouraging to see that support for the NHS remained as high as ever.

“The public can be reassured that the government is committed to continued investment in the health service, including an extra £8bn over the next five years,” the spokesperson continued.

“Despite being busy, the NHS has been ranked by the independent Commonwealth Fund as the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 wealthy nations.”

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