A majority of people in Britain support tax rises as a way of funding the NHS, a poll suggests.

The Ipsos MORI survey of nearly 1,800 people for the Health Foundation think tank found 85% thought the NHS should be protected from cuts – significantly more than other public services.

When presented with a range of options setting out how that could be achieved, 59% said they supported tax rises.

There was also some support for fining people for missing appointments. But only 16% were in favour of charging for services, such as a £10 fee for GP appointments. Funding of the NHS is already proving to be a major theme of the election campaign. The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Greens have all promised extra funds for the health service.

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