By Claire West
A YouGov poll, commissioned by UNISON, the UK's largest union, shows that only 27% support GPs using private companies to provide NHS services. 50% oppose the measure, which is a key plank of the Government's Health and Social Care Bill.
And there is bad news for the Coalition, the figures show a split between Lib Dem and Tory voters, 56% of Lib Dem voters oppose the move with just 30% in support.
Even among Tory voters, only 46% actually support the measure, with 22% registering a 'Don't know'.
The same poll revealed that half of those surveyed opposed GPs employing private management groups. The handing over of £80bn of the NHS budget to GPs means that they will have to employ outside help to commission services. The poll revealed greater opposition from Lib Dem voters, with 57% against the move. Even Tory voters are divided about this 40% support the measure and 38% oppose, 22% 'don't know'.
On the eve of the second reading of the Health and Social Care Bill, Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:
"This Bill is heading for trouble. The YouGov poll shows a clear split between Lib Dem and Tory supporters. There is very weak support from Tory voters and clear opposition from Lib Dems.
"The fact is there is very little support for this Bill from anywhere. Many GPs are opposed to it, as are patients, NHS staff, clinicians, charities, think tanks, MPs and unions. Lansley's vanity project is undemocratic, unaffordable and unnecessary.
"The NHS is already under severe financial pressure because of Government demands to make £20bn in so called 'efficiency savings'. This titanic re-organisation threatens to sink the NHS. The Government should step back from the brink and pronounce this Bill DOA - Dead on Arrival."