Assembly’s Top Priority Should Be Health: Poll

Health should be the top priority for the new Ulster Assembly, a survey has revealed. According to the YouGov poll which questioned more than 2,000 people across the UK, health was voted the top spending priority for the next Executive, ahead of law and order, education, defence and the environment.

The survey indicated that 93% of people in Northern Ireland valued the NHS as an essential public service, while 74% wanted to see greater investment in it.

Eight out of 10 people (80%) believed that reduced investment would lead to increased waiting times and patients being denied access to key services. Most (74%) agreed that patients would be charged for some services that are currently free.

Royal College of Nurses Northern Ireland director, Mary Hinds, said the survey was a warning against reducing funding for health next year.

She said: “The Northern Ireland public have made it clear that they expect our politicians to put health at the top of their list of priorities when the Assembly convenes in May. People have very real concerns that if funding is reduced next year patient care will suffer and we will be faced with even worse waiting times. People must be reassured that health will top the agenda.”