Public Support Higher Spending on Healthcare.

The annual British Social Attitudes Survey has highlighted a trend in public support for increased spending on healthcare. This year eighty three percent were in favour of more government spending on health. It should be said that this is a seven percent decrease since 1996 when ninety percent were in favour of more spending. However, an increase in healthcare spending is still the most popular choice, beating an increase in education by twelve percent this year.

This indication of support does not necessarily mean that the government will respond by providing yet more money to government health providers. Many of those who do not support an increase will be asking where the money would come from. Well, there appears to be an answer to this in the survey too. Forty eight percent of those surveyed indicated that they would be in favour of higher taxation and higher spending. This is an option for the government and it is often seen as the simplest answer to the problem. However, increased taxation is political dynamite and something which the current government are unlikely to go near, given their slim majority in government.

The survey throws up some interesting anomalies though. For example, only sixty seven percent of the public surveyed think it should definitely be the governments responsibility to provide healthcare for the sick. Also, only fifty two percent of those surveyed thought it should definitely be the governments responsibility to provide a decent standard of living for the old. So, this could suggest that some think healthcare should be paid for by the person using the service and even the elderly should have to pay.

Prof John Appleby from the Nuffield Trust, which has analysed the findings, says the government urgently needs to address the issue of health spending. In a BBC interview he stated that there is a demonstrable link between government healthcare spending and public satisfaction. Perhaps a boost in healthcare spending could be just what the doctor ordered for Theresa May and her Conservative government.

What do you think? Would you pay more taxes for higher healthcare spending.

You can see the BBC interview with Professor Appleby here.