Public ‘overwhelming support rise in health and social care spend’

13 Jun 18

The British public have shown “overwhelming” support to increase annual spending on health and social care over the next 15 years, according to a poll released today.  

Eighty-two per cent of the British public supported a 3.9% annual increase in social care spending while 77% backed a 4% increase in health care spending to make ‘modest improvements’, the Ipsos Mori poll carried out for the NHS Confederation suggested.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation, which represents 85% of NHS providers and commissioners, said: “What this shows is overwhelming support across the country for increased funding for the NHS but also for social care.

“The public increasingly realises the importance of a health care system that is fit for the future.”

The polling comes after NHS Confederation commissioned research into health and social care funding, which claimed tax hikes were necessary to keep the NHS afloat.

Ipsos Mori’s poll of more than 1,000 adults in Britain found that 45% of respondents agreed with increasing national insurance while 42% agree with raising income tax.

Men were more likely to back income tax increases while women were more likely to back National Insurance hikes, the research found.

Most of those happy to see an income tax rise to fund healthcare were aged over 55, Ipsos Mori discovered, while the majority of those over 45 agreed with raising the NI rate.

The poll also found that 71% of respondents backed funding the increase by fining patients who miss GP and hospital appointments and 47% agreed that patients should be charged for treatment brought on by lifestyle choices like smoking.

Dickson added: “It is now for the politicians to decide what to do next- the greatest risk lies in doing nothing.”

Izzi Seccombe of the Local Government Association’s community and wellbeing board, said: “These findings show that the public very much gets the need to invest genuinely new money into the services that provide invaluable support for older and disabled people.

“This will require big, brave and bold decision-making if we are to tackle the crisis in adult social care, which needs cross-party consensus if we are to succeed.”

The Health Foundation has warned against the creation of a ring-fenced NHS tax.

Read Thomas Pope of the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ blog for PF on the difficult fiscal choices of funding the NHS.

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