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Public want health tax

16th April 2007

Nearly half the population would be happy to pay a dedicated NHS tax, says a recent survey.

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In a poll of nearly 2,400 people, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey found that health ranked above law and order, defence, education and the environment in the priorities of the public.  And 46% of those surveyed backed up their claims by saying the government should introduce a specific health tax.  Over a third of those surveyed said they felt health should feature more highly in the government’s spending priorities (over education, law and order etc.) with almost 60% saying they felt funding should be increased past the current record levels.  The YouGov survey for the RCN also revealed that the public considers hospital care to be more important that all other healthcare areas including waiting times.

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said the public welcomed the progress made in recent years but added that people want modernisation and not privatisation of the NHS. "This survey is proof that the public value and believe in our NHS [which is] a unique public institution with a unique role in our national life and it should be supported and sustained,� he added.

The survey comes as the government is thought to be planning to pull back on the massive increases it has made to the NHS budget in recent years.  Experts predict the autumn spending review will include increases of about half those for 2008-9.

 

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