Poll: Nearly half of Scots believe NHS has got worse

More than 50 per cent of Scots would be willing to pay more tax to help boost the NHS. Picture: John Devlin
More than 50 per cent of Scots would be willing to pay more tax to help boost the NHS. Picture: John Devlin
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A majority of Scots would be prepared to pay more tax to help the NHS, a poll has found.

As the health service prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary, 46 per cent believe standards in the NHS in Scotland have become worse while about a quarter (26 per cent) think they have improved.

• READ MORE - Ruth Davidson: I would not be here without the NHS

The Sunday Times Scotland survey found that 52 per cent of Scots would be willing to pay more in tax to better fund the health service, with less than a third (29 per cent) opposed to a tax hike and 18 per cent are unsure.

The Panelbase poll also found strong support for charging patients who miss appointments and for a ban on treatments including tummy tucks, tattoo removals and breast implants.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde university, told the Sunday Times Scotland: “A relatively widespread perception that the NHS has been doing less well in recent years seems to have helped fuel a widespread acceptance that more will need to be spent on the NHS in the coming years.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Seventy years after its creation, the NHS continues to provide a free public service, and our NHS staff do a fantastic job every day of the year. There of course are challenges across the whole of the UK with our NHS which is facing more pressure than ever before, due to an ageing population, and rising demand.

“In order to support those staff, and help to deliver a service fit for purpose, this government has created a health service in Scotland that is working to record levels of funding and staffing.

“We will continue to work alongside NHS staff and to deliver real investment to continue to improve services and provide the level of care to patients that they have a right to expect.”

The poll also found majority backing for terminally ill Scots to get the right to die.

• READ MORE - Scots NHS ‘staffing crisis’ as thousands of nurses quit

MSPs have twice voted down attempts to legislate for assisted suicide, but of those surveyed 71 per cent said they would support a change in the law to allow a doctor to help end the life of someone in severe pain with only a few months to live. Such a move is opposed by 10 per cent.

Some 40 per cent would back it where someone only has a few months to live even if they are not in severe pain, while that step is opposed by 22 per cent.

Assisted suicide to help end the life of someone with a severe life-limiting disability who might still live for years was backed by 43 per cent and opposed by 18 per cent, while a quarter were unsure.