7 in 10 Believe Free Healthcare Under Threat in UK

70% of UK voters feel that the future of the NHS is threatened, with the majority of these (65%) believing that that the private sector poses a danger, an HSJ/FTI Consulting poll has found.


Almost all respondents (97%) agreed that the NHS is worth fighting for, with 92% saying that it is integral to social equality. Around a quarter (27%) felt that the Conservative party best understands the NHS, whilst the highest number (40%) felt that Labour is most in touch with the issue. Of the major political parties, the Conservatives were considered most likely to endanger free healthcare, according to 44% of respondents. With six in ten saying that they were likely to vote based on the issue – a number that rose to 67% amongst the under-30s – these figures may cause concern for the UK's Conservative-led government.

Despite perceptions of the private sector as posing a risk, half of voters polled did not think it mattered whether the NHS is publicly or privately run – provided it stays free of charge. First and foremost, voters are worried about waiting times for appointments and the future of Accident & Emergency units, with nearly three quarters saying they would be "very concerned" about a national announcement relating to A&E closures. The majority (61%) would, however, be willing to travel out of the area to see a specialist and 79% of young adults were enthusiastic about using smartphones to monitor health.

7 in 10 believe free healthcare under threat in UK

Bill Morgan, Partner at Incisive Health, who was former Special Adviser to Andrew Lansley when he was Health Secretary, described fears over free healthcare as "very misplaced."

"You'll hear many people say that the NHS is great but in the future we'll have to start charging for it," but this is not the case, he said. "The vast majority of people in government think it is most efficiently funded publicly, through general taxation."

"If you asked whether the NHS is under threat at any point over the last 50 years you would probably get a similar result."


Source: Intefrated Care Today



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