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More than two-thirds of public think NHS is underfunded, including over half of Tory voters, poll finds

MORE than two-thirds of Brits think the NHS in underfunded, including a majority of Tory voters, a damning new poll published today reveals.

The Opinium survey — commissioned by Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) — shows 67 per cent of all voters and 58 per cent of Conservative supporters want austerity-hit health services to receive more cash.

Nearly seven in 10 of the 2,000 adults consulted think the NHS is performing badly, with 55 per cent blaming Downing Street for the deterioration in services, which have also been hit by national strikes since December over plummeting take-home pay and worsening patient safety.  

Close to three-quarters — 72 per cent — want the health service to be a “fully or mostly public service,” the poll also shows.

It came ahead of what is expected to be a massive national demonstration in central London on Saturday, when the more than 50 organisations involved in the KONP-founded SOS NHS campaign will gather to demand better.

KONP co-chairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said: “These results send a clear message to the government that the public are crying out for a return to a properly funded health service with shorter waiting lists, accessible emergency care, and a content workforce.

“In 2010 when the NHS was well funded, it was independently ranked as the best healthcare system on the planet — and it can be again.

“There must be an end to the misery of avoidable deaths and staff burnout.”

Campaigners have repeatedly demanded more cash for services and higher pay settlements as well as an end to creeping privatisation amid predictions there could be about 500 avoidable deaths happening every week across the NHS.

Record high treatment waiting lists — exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic — have soared alongside recruitment shortfalls, with the health service currently reporting more than 132,000 vacancies.

Dr Sullivan added: “It's now obvious that Conservative politicians’ hollow talk of ‘record funding' simply does not wash with the public, with the majority of those surveyed rightly blaming them for the NHS crisis.”

The retired consultant paediatrician urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay to “listen to what the public are saying.”

The Department of Health and Social Care claims it is investing record amounts in the NHS and the number of people employed in healthcare is now growing.

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