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Half of patients believe tax rises 'needed to pay for NHS'


More than half of patients believe taxes should rise to ensure the NHS can continue to provide healthcare in the long term, a survey suggests.

A poll of 1,000 adult patients from England and Wales found that 54.4% agree that taxes have to increase to ensure long-term healthcare needs are met.

Around one in six (16.4%) are not confident that the NHS would be able to meet their needs in the future.

One in 10 patients believe they will have to pay for their healthcare in the future, according to the survey, conducted on behalf of accountancy firm KPMG.

Andrew Hine, UK head of health at the firm, said: “Few, if any, societies have truly faced up to the magnitude of the crisis of long-term care. All too often the debate over finance seems to overshadow the scale and gravity of the wider challenge which is, and always should be, delivery of quality care for patients.

“The onus is on a wide group of leaders to come up with an affordable way to pay for the care today’s society will need, tomorrow. It’s encouraging to see a heavy dose of realism, with many patients accepting that the government can’t be expected to cover all costs unless taxes rise substantially or major savings are made elsewhere.”

Last month health officials said that the NHS will not survive unless there are radical changes in the provision of healthcare such as hospital closures and centralisation of services.

An ageing population, more and more people suffering from long-term conditions and a stagnant budget are compounding factors putting pressure of the system, NHS England said.

If the health service in England continues to provide care the way it currently does, there will be a funding gap of £30bn between 2013 and 2021, even if the health budget is ringfenced, officials said.

So to maintain a health service that is “free at the point of use”, a new approach to providing services is “urgently needed”, they said

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Readers' comments (40)

  • Yeah an accountancy firm can be relied upon to talk about the 'crisis' in long term care. Bottom line, taxes will have to be increased to meet the needs (it doesn't need to be a crisis) of future care. But much much more important is that healthcare services are run efficiently and properly. The amount of money loss through ineffiency and apalling management is absolutely criminal and NEVER dealt with. How can we be talking about cuts to services when billions could be saved by just running the services properly?

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  • the GPD spent on the NHS should be online with those of other EU countries providing good service on line with demand whether this requires higher taxation or not. even it it does, across the whole population of contributors, it should not be very much. if this is not an option then there needs to be more direct contributions by the public which may be less attractive.

    whichever way, there must be investment to improve and provide safe high quality services as an urgent priority.

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  • Nearly half of all income - 47% of GDP - is taken in tax. At a time of squeezed incomes & falling standards of living, we don't need more tax. More efficiency, yes

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  • Pundits keep forgetting that with 2.5M unemployed and over 3M underemployed public finances suffer a double whammy of lost taxes and more benefit payments. There is not a NHS crisis - there is an economy crisis.

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  • Who were interviewed ?Pensioners who dont pay tax? I think we pay too much tax as it is Take it off politicians pay rises

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  • many pensioners do pay tax!

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  • George Kuchanny

    The truth is hard. It is this our economy is in a worse state that others which have already gone to the wall like Greece. Ref: Moneyweek. So no more taxation in the pot. A shrinking NHS is far more likely.

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  • the tories wont want this

    they are determined to privatise the nhs, so any form of funding to keep the nhs free at the point of use, will be no good to them

    companies like circle will move somewhere they have invested 3.5 million in hinchinbrooke hospital...funny i also read they got a 3.5 million loan from the department of health!!!

    wont be long before the nhs has to bail out all these private companies, coming in with low bids then realising they carnt provide the service...unbeleviable...yep privatisation and the tories they always work!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous | 13-Aug-2013 2:43 pm

    is that your own considered observation and opinion or just parotted from others? it seems to crop up on this site with startling frequency.

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  • ...and regardless of whether it has any basis in actual facts.

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