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Independents' Day

Half the public back a national NHS tax

Half the public would be willing to pay an additional ‘NHS tariff’ through national insurance to support the health service, with only a quarter opposing the idea, according to consultants PwC.

A poll of more than 2,000 UK adults found twice as many people supported a national tax as opposed it, while 31% of the public would be supportive of a local tax for their local services.

The survey also found a majority of the public (76%) think clinical quality should take precedence over balancing the books – an increase from 68% in April 2016 - challenging some fundamental policy commitments, including the Department of Health’s drive to wring £22bn in efficiency savings from the NHS.

Around 45% of respondents said the NHS was less efficient now than in 2011, compared with 16% who thought it had improved.

Responses to other suggestions for making savings in the NHS, include:

  • Immunisations should be compulsory where they prevent illness, which 66% of respondents support and 17% oppose;
  • Conditions caused primarily by lifestyle factors, such as diabetes or chronic bronchitis, should be funded in part by patients - 50% oppose and 26% were supportive;
  • Patients who are advised to lose weight to improve their condition ‘should not receive any other treatment for that condition until they lose the weight’ – 52% support the idea, and only 26% oppose it;
  • Patients should look after personal and family budgets for healthcare because they’re best placed to make the right choices with some support – 37% of respondents oppose the idea, while 26% backed it.

Quentin Cole, health industries lead for PwC, said:The public is well aware of the funding difficulties the NHS is facing and that things have to change if the £22bn funding gap is to be closed.

 ‘Our polling shows that they are prepared to play their part in dealing with the resource challenge by entertaining paying more tax or rationing services.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    It is all about money and this government will not go down the route of raising tax , partly because the prime minister is a technocrat in nature sticking to the 'principles' of Tories and the so called manifesto(well , it was a Cameron's general election campaign, not hers).
    Partner/Principal25 Jan 2017 9:17am

    You see
    Education has a similar scenario and some schools want to charge a fee:
    Grammar schools 'may ask parents for hundreds of pounds a year'
    By Ross Hawkins

    As I said in my long comment in the weekend , all these are part of the real 'STP'(Sustainability and Transformation Plan' of the government for Brexit and a new relationship with US, China and rest of the world , while it is to hold EU in ransom to strike a free trade deal, by making Britain a tax haven with a very low corporation tax , more infrastructure and technology investment;the money to do that has to come from somewhere i.e.selective austerity in public service sectors. There will be no exemption to fire fighting service and police , for instance.
    What will happen to these amendments ,thrown by oppositions on the government in the forthcoming parliamentary debate on Brexit , is interesting . Chuka Umunna, Labour MP , has a similar argument of mine:
    "So I would like to see, for example, a commitment to put £350m a week into the NHS that Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Liam Fox and Chris Grayling committed to during the referendum campaign."
    I think if you are interested in this matter , you should bombard MPs' e-mail boxes for more amendment ideas......

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  • Why should there be another tax? We know that not all people pay tax. As I said in another post elsewhere, if you want to raise money for the NHS, levy a 5-10% charge on unhealthy choices like nicotine products, alcohol, sugar, fat, takeaways, fast food etc. This is paid by everyone and will be a contribution towards their future care in the NHS in case they develop chronic conditions associated with these choices.

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  • Not a solution. The White Paper clearly envisages that NHSE has to make savings every year. So how much and for how long is this government ready to tax and punish the public for their own follies? Unless there is the will to stop the cuts and make good what has been siphoned away, nothing is going to work. If someone is really stupid to think taxation would work, I would dub him/her a 'politician'.

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