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by Tom Freeman
14 January 2015
People believe NHS services have got worse despite higher funding, according to poll

People believe NHS services have got worse despite higher funding, according to poll

Most people in the UK think the NHS has deteriorated since 2010 even though they believe it has been better funded, according to a new poll by Lord Ashcroft.

Scotland has higher satisfaction rates than the rest of the UK, with 61 per cent rating their personal experience at 8/10, compared with 56 per cent in England and 53 per cent in Wales. When asked how good or bad they thought NHS services were in the country as a whole, the proportion awarding 8/10 or above fell to 45 per cent in Scotland, compared to just 29 per cent in England.

Nearly half of Scots would consider the reintroduction of prescription charges, a policy pursued by the Scottish Conservatives.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “People can see that it makes no sense for those who are willing and able to pay for prescriptions to receive them courtesy of the taxpayer. There are so many better ways that cash could be spent, not least on recruiting 1000 new nurses, which would be infinitely more sensible than Scottish Labour’s illogical plan.”

However Scottish voters rated the SNP as the party most committed to protecting and improving the NHS. The party achieved a rating of 7.04 compared to Labour who are on 6.69 and the Tories who rated 5.30.

Lord Ashcroft said Labour and the Conservatives were avoiding “real discussion” on health. “Talking about potential reforms, even when aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the service in the long term, feels to many like an affront and makes them defensive. That is why a proper conversation about the NHS is so important. It’s a shame there is no sign we’re going to get one.”

Across the UK, half of respondents thought the NHS should consider starting to charge for some treatments, and 79 per cent thought people should be charged for missing GP appointments. Most people thought private providers would provide services in the future.

The poll was conducted with a 21,000 sample, 1,700 from Scotland.

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