Two-thirds agree with NHS tax, says poll

Exactly two-thirds (66 per cent) of people would be happy to pay more tax if it means the quality of the NHS improves, a new poll has revealed.

The survey, which includes more than 2,000 people, shows that the findings vary by age, with over-65s in most agreement (76 per cent).

They are followed by the 18-24 age group (61 per cent), and the 35-44 age group (56 per cent).

The research also explored options beyond taxation to invest in health services. For example, 62 per cent of those surveyed see charges for missed appointments as the most acceptable alternative.

However, around three-quarters (73 per cent) say that it should not be possible for anyone to pay for a GP appointment to get a faster service. Such schemes have been made available in certain parts of the UK via private companies operating in GP surgeries.

When asked where funding from additional taxation should go, 53 per cent of the public say hiring more staff should be the focus rather than paying existing staff more, while a similar percentage believe the NHS should prioritise funding for hospitals over GP surgeries.

The survey follows a call from NHS leaders who are asking for pay rises for 1.3 million staff.

Niall Dickson, NHS Confederation chief executive, urged the new UK parliament to “reset the clock”, and recognise the election showed health and social care as one of the most important issues to the public.