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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 09:09 GMT
Poll suggests split views of NHS
Perceptions of the NHS are shaped by the media
Half of voters think the NHS is getting worse, but most speak highly of their last treatment, a survey has suggested.

The poll of 2,022 voters by YouGov for the TUC found 46% thought government reforms would make their local trust worse over the next five years.

But 63% said their most recent experience of the NHS was either good or very good.

Nearly three-quarters were against recent reforms including increased competition within the NHS.

The reform process has also included radical changes to the progression of doctors' careers, and the onset of privatisation within the NHS.

Of the respondents, 52% agreed that the NHS had got much worse or a little worse since 1996.

Alarm bells

And 76% of those surveyed said the government should stop its reform and give far more control back to NHS staff.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This poll should ring alarm bells in government.

"It shows that the government is not getting the credit it deserves for providing the extra funding that has allowed NHS staff to make big improvements to patient care and to cut waiting times.

"Nor do voters back crucial parts of the government's reform agenda.

"Instead they want ministers to work with and to trust NHS staff to make the NHS better, not set hospitals up in competition with each other."

Ministers have often picked up on the contradiction between voters attitude towards the NHS as a whole - often critical of perceived failings - and their direct experience of the system - usually more than satisfactory.

The TUC poll is being promoted to coincide with NHS Together - a coalition of unions and associations which is lobbying Parliament.

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