Consumer confidence in the NHS's ability to provide a comprehensive service has been brought into question by research from Standard Life Healthcare.
It shows 59 per cent of people believe the NHS cannot provide free treatment for every condition, given the number of new drugs and treatments that have been discovered. Fifty per cent believe the Government should work more closely with the private sector to avoid winter crises in the NHS.
The public also support public/private partnerships in healthcare, with 71 per cent believing waiting times for treatments and operations could be reduced and 61 per cent saying such co-operation could help the NHS meet Government targets for treating serious conditions.
The research was carried out by Taylor Nelson Sores with a representative sample of 2,004 adults between January 12 and January 18, 2001.
In conjunction with the research, Standard Life Healthcare is mailing sales packs for its Choices private healthcare product to 3,000 IFAs.
Managing director Mike Hall says: “There is a recognition that an increasing number of consumers are paying for private treatment out of their own pocket. Yet the research shows there is a lack of awareness about the true cost of operations and procedures. Almost six out of 10 people underestimate the cost of a heart operation.”