A new survey has revealed that nine out of 10 people fear that the recession will result in cuts to NHS services, and some would be willing to pay more taxes to protect health service funding.
Of the 1,071 people questioned by the British Medical Association (BMA), 89% said they also fear that waiting times for treatment will increase and 85% think there will be more charges for NHS treatments.
Almost as many - 80% - said that funding for the most important services should be prioritised, and 77% said that budgets in other government departments should be cut to protect NHS funding in the recession.
Four out of 10 would also be willing to pay more taxes to protect the growth of NHS funding in the future.
The same proportion do not have confidence the government can safeguard the NHS in the current climate, but 95% thought doctors and nurses could do the job of safeguarding the NHS in the recession.
BMA chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said: "These results show how anxious the public is about the effects of the recession on the health service, with a significant number saying taxes should increase to protect NHS funding.
"No one wants to see any cuts in the public sector but our poll reveals just how much society values their health service."