Who runs a hospital or surgery does not matter to 62% of the public, provided that everyone has access to healthcare, a survey has found.
The survey of 2000 people by Populus on behalf of Reform was conducted following the recent suggestion that in the next parliament a new NHS Tax could be introduced to help fund the NHS.
Andrew Haldenby, director of Reform, said, "By a big majority, the public wants NHS reform not a new NHS tax. An extra 1p on income tax will cost the average income taxpayer £12.50 a month in the next Parliament. Even voters who support an NHS tax are not willing to pay that much."
Included in the survey was the question, "It shouldn't matter whether hospitals and surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector, provided that everyone including the least well off has access to care."
In response, 17% of those surveyed thought it did matter, with 21% neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
The idea of an NHS tax was opposed by 67% of those surveyed, while the idea of politicians ruling out alternatives to the NHS was supported by 40%, with 21% disagreeing. Reform of the NHS and tax cuts as a result was supported by 72% of those surveyed.
The survey also revealed the amounts supports of the proposed tax were willing to pay towards the cost of the NHS. On average supporters were willing to pay £8.36 a month, dropping for pensioners to £4.80. An income tax increase of 1% would cost the average taxpayer around £11.00 a month. Those who supported the proposed tax mostly came from the higher income groupings, with 37% of the AB social grade supporting the idea.
Cathy Corrie, senior researcher at Reform, told City Am, "The NHS may be seen as more of a political challenge, but our poll shows that there is more support for reform than politicians realise."
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