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Four in five Brits willing to pay more tax to improve NHS

Extra funding should focus on care closer to home

More than four in five British adults would be willing to pay more tax to secure significant improvements in the NHS, a poll suggests.

The survey of 1,004 adults, commissioned by the NHS Confederation, found 84% would be willing to pay more tax if the NHS’s level of service improved a great deal, compared with 75% who would be willing to pay more tax for slightly improved services.

A further 61% would be willing to pay more if it ensured tservices remained at current levels.

The government’s five-year funding deal for the NHS is equivalent to an average of 3.4% a year increase.

This is below the 4% a year a recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation said would be necessary for the health service to cope with rising demand and to modestly improve. 

More than double the proportion of participants agreed (42%) than disagreed (18%) that any extra funding for the NHS should focus more on providing care closer to home and less on hospital care.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said it is undeniably clear there is an appetite among taxpayers to put their hands in their pockets for the cash needed to make the NHS a service to be proud of.

“Just pumping money into a struggling system will not work. Healthcare must be patient-centred, with more focus on primary care, community health services and social care, all of which can help ensure people receive quality care in or near their own homes,” he added.