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NHS "must remain a top priority"

Spending on the NHS should be one of the highest priorities for the new government, after immigration and the economy, a poll has revealed.

Public support for spending in the NHS ranked above other areas including law and order.

Almost half of people (49%) said the economy should be the top spending priority, followed by immigration (12%), the health service (11%), law and order (7%), education (6%), transport (2%) and the environment (2%).

When asked specifically about health, 50% of people said spending on the NHS should be increased while 40% said it should be maintained at current levels.

However, most said they wanted to see NHS cash spent more efficiently.

The poll of more than 4,000 people across the UK was commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on the eve of its annual conference in Bournemouth.

Some 4,000 nurses from around the UK are expected to attend the conference, debating topics including whether heroin should be provided on the NHS.

Other issues being discussed include whether all schoolchildren need first aid training, whether the legal limit for alcohol when driving should be reduced to zero and concerns over increasing rates of sexually-transmitted infections among the over-45s.

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