More people are worried about the future of the NHS than the threat of terrorism, research has suggested.
Nearly a third (32%) of UK residents who were polled stated funding cuts to the health service were their number one concern, a higher proportion than were most worried about terrorism (28%), despite a series of attacks over the past year.
The figure was also higher than those who expressed concern over the country’s economic future following Brexit (27%).
Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) people said they are concerned that if funding levels remain the same, the NHS will be at risk of complete collapse within the next five years.
The research was carried out by the Independent Health Professionals Association (IHPA), which warned of a growing disparity between staffing pressures and Government underfunding.
Ben Itsuokor, consultant geriatrician and president of the IHPA, said: “The NHS was founded on a belief that good healthcare should be available to all, but we’re facing sustained external economic forces that threaten this core principle.
“It’s demoralising and, in some cases, distressing that we are unable to provide proper patient care due to restrictions that are beyond our control.
“During this winter alone we have seen that a lack of investment is leading to chronic staff shortages, increased waiting times and the cancellation of – sometimes very urgent – appointments and operations.
“Just as we have an unshakeable duty of care to our patients, so too does the Government need to realise its moral and social obligation to preserve the future of the NHS before it’s too late.”
The poll saw 1,500 consumers and 537 members of the IHPA questioned.