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Monday, 12 January 2015

NHS ahead of immigration as top concern for voters

As the Prime Minister, David Cameron, set out the first of his six key election priorities today - and came under fire for not including the National Health Service or immigration - the latest poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News reveals that following continued pressures on A&E departments, the NHS has overtaken immigration as the top concern for voters for the first time since tracking began in July 2014.

Half of Britons (50%) now list the National Health Service as one of their top three priorities, up by 11 percentage points from 39% last month. Immigration is a top three concern for 46% of the public, down from 49% in December (and from 52% in September).

71% of the public think significant organisational reform is needed to fix the NHS, although three quarters of Britons (75%) think that patients expect more of the NHS than they did twenty years ago. Also, many appear to continue to support the principle of universal free healthcare with half of Britons disagreeing (47%) that people who can afford it ought to be required to contribute towards the cost of their treatment under the NHS. One in three (34%) agree with the idea.

The Coalition Government is most likely to be thought responsible for the current situation in the NHS, with around one in three (35%) Britons laying responsibility at the Coalition's door. Around one in five Britons (22%) say the last Labour Government are most responsible, followed by 12% saying managers in individual hospitals.

Detailed Findings:

Q: Which of the following do you think should be the biggest priorities for the Government at the present time? 

1, Managing the NHS 50% (+11)
2, Controlling immigration 46% (-3)
3, Keeping down the cost of everyday items, such as food, energy and travel 25% (-3)
4, Promoting economic growth 20% (NC)
5, Making sure the benefits of economic growth are felt by all 20% (NC)
6, Reducing the Government's budget deficit 19% (-2)
7, Making the welfare system fairer 19% (NC)
8, Redefining Britain's relationship with the EU 16% (-2)
9, Improving housing affordability 14% (+1)
10, Providing adequate care for the elderly 13% (NC)
11, Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour 9% (NC)
12, Improving the education system 7% (-1)
Base: All GB adults (n=2,050). Numbers in brackets are changes since 6th December 2014.

Q: Who do you think is most responsible for the current situation in the NHS?

The current Coalition Government 35%
The last Labour Government 22%
Managers in individual hospitals 12%
NHS England 9%
Patients 4%
Doctors and nurses 1%
Other 3%
Don't know 15%
Base: GB adults (n=2,056).