The research by Independent Health Professionals’ Association (IHPA) follows reports that the NHS funding deficit could be twice as high as expected this year.
It has prompted calls for both budgets and efficiencies within the service to be reviewed and increased.
The study found 48 per cent of people listed poor management, internal bureaucracy and wastage as causing funding problems in the NHS.
It also found 30 per cent of those surveyed claimed patients using the NHS when they do not need treatment are crippling the service while four per cent think research into treatment for disease is contributing to the funding crisis.
Less than one per cent said staffing costs are a drain on the service.
Meanwhile 62 per cent of people believe healthcare professionals working in the NHS are underpaid, with just six per cent believing they are overpaid.
Two thirds of those surveyed (68 per cent) said they would be happy for workers to receive higher pay if it improves patient safety.
Ben Itsuokor, consultant geriatrician and president of the IHPA, said: ‘Inadequate NHS funding continues to be stretched too thinly so it is frontline staff pay and vital services such as scientific research that we see consistently sacrificed in order to maintain the service.
‘As a result, not only are thousands of healthcare professionals chronically underpaid but now more overworked than ever.
‘Our research shows a majority of the public both feel supportive about NHS staff taking steps to get fairer pay – and that government measures do not go far enough in addressing the issue.’