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Public 'increasingly concerned' about future of NHS, BMA survey finds

The public are "increasingly concerned" about the future of the NHS, leading doctors have said.

The comments from the British Medical Association (BMA) come as a poll found that 78% of people in England claim they are "worried" about the future of the National Health Service.

More than half believe the NHS is going to get worse over the next few years.

And the majority do not think the health service is getting enough money it needs from the Government.

Meanwhile 77% said that Government policies are leading to growing discontent across the NHS workforce.

On the issue of seven-day NHS services, the survey found that seven in 10 believe the NHS cannot currently afford to deliver hospital services all week long.

And 79% said that providing more hospital services at the weekend should not mean a reduction in weekday services.

The poll of 1,200 people across England was conducted by the BMA ahead of its annual meeting in Belfast tomorrow.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA's council, said: "Public confidence in the Government's management of the NHS is extremely low. People are increasingly concerned about the future of a health service that they know is under unsustainable pressure.

"There is a gulf between the Government's promises on the NHS and what the public believe to be true. Everyone agrees that the NHS needs to grow and change, yet there is no long-term plan to address the crisis in our health service.

"It's little wonder that many people question the Government's commitment to the NHS and believe it is going in the wrong direction."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "The NHS is busy, but performing well despite the additional pressures of our ageing population - with 1.6 million more operations taking place each year and an extra 9,500 doctors and 10,800 nurses on our wards since 2010.

"Patient experience has also improved, with 85% of patients now reporting that their care and treatment was 'good' or 'better'.

"We are committed to delivering a safer seven-day NHS and have fully funded the NHS own plan for the future with an extra £10 billion per year by 2020 to transform services."

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