NEARLY half of voters across the south east trust Labour more than any other party with the future of the NHS, according to a new survey.
Significantly more than half think the health service has got worse in the last three years, while more than three- quarters say they would be prepared to pay an extra 1p in the pound on income tax for a better-funded NHS.
The survey also reveals that 70.2 per cent of people across the south east believe there should be universal access to all NHS services, while 65.9 per cent say the private sector should have no role in running the NHS.
In terms of the current state of the NHS, 48.9 per cent of survey respondents in the region say they have struggled to get a GP appointment in the last year, while 57 per cent said they thought NHS services had got worse since 2014.
Only 32.7 per cent said health chiefs should be allowed to continue charging for car parking at hospitals.
With health set to be a major election issue, the gap in trust between Labour and the Conservatives when it comes to who would best protect the NHS is notable.
Given a choice of four major parties - the Tories, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party - some 48.0 per cent of respondents in the south east said they trusted Labour most when it came to the NHS.
Only 33.3 per cent said they trusted the Conservatives most, while 11.1 per cent said the Lib Dems and 7.5 said the Greens.
The backing for Labour over the NHS was lower in the south east than any other English region. In the north west 67.9 per cent said they trusted the party most, while in the north east it was 63.7 per cent. Only in Scotland were Labour not the party most trusted to run the NHS. Some 42.9 per cent of respondents there went for the SNP, compared to 32.4 per cent for Labour and 19.5 per cent for the Tories.
There was significant support in the region for the Lib Dem policy of making people pay an extra 1p in the pound in income tax to raise £6bn a year for the NHS.
Some 77.1 per cent of people in the south east said they would be prepared to pay it, compared to 13.2 per cent saying they would not and 9.7 per cent did not know. The survey was carried out in partnership with Google Surveys and completed by 8,331 people.