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Sheffield residents would pay more tax to fund health services, Star survey finds

Running in Sheffield.
Running in Sheffield.

More than 70 per cent of people in Sheffield would pay an extra penny on their income tax to fund better healthcare services, a major survey has found - as half of those who took part have struggled to get an appointment with a GP in the last year.

But residents are leading happy, healthy lives, the poll suggested, with more than half rarely feeling lonely and over 60 per cent taking exercise at least several times a week.

People told The Star they found it hard to book a GP appointment.

People told The Star they found it hard to book a GP appointment.

The nearby Peak District continues to be a major attraction for residents, with nearly 80 per cent rating the city's surrounding countryside as 'very good' in a detailed study on the state of life in Sheffield.

The survey examined how people in Sheffield like to spend their leisure time. The city's parks are the places residents visit most often, with nearly 20 per cent of respondents enjoying green spaces either daily or several times a week.

Only 12 per cent went to shopping centres more than once a week, but likewise less than a quarter toured museums, galleries or exhibitions more often than once every few months.

Sheffield city centre's growing number of cinemas - The Curzon, off High Street, and The Light, on The Moor, have both opened in the last two years - was reflected in the poll's results. Of the 3,137 people who responded, 65 per cent described local film venues as 'good' or 'very good'.

Endcliffe Park - nearly 20 per cent of those polled visited parks on a very regular basis.

Endcliffe Park - nearly 20 per cent of those polled visited parks on a very regular basis.

People were most reluctant to describe Sheffield's festivals and events as 'very good' - the majority said they were 'good' or 'average'.

Meanwhile 58 per cent of those surveyed disagreed that they often felt lonely. A further 48 per cent agreed, or strongly agreed, they were financially comfortable and two-thirds claimed they ate a healthy diet.

Just four per cent of participants admitted they never took any exercise, a statistic likely to be chalked up as a victory by the leaders of Sheffield's Move More campaign, which encourages people to be more active. Eighty-eight per cent denied ever taking recreational drugs - however, nearly 30 per cent drank alcohol several times a week.

Getting dental treatment is far easier than booking a doctor's appointment, the survey indicates. A little over a quarter had struggled to see a dentist in the past year, and 28 per cent had found it difficult to arrange a hospital consultation.

The Curzon cinema - the survey gave the thumbs-up to Sheffield's cinema offering.

The Curzon cinema - the survey gave the thumbs-up to Sheffield's cinema offering.

When asked whether more money needed to be directed towards staffing rather than healthcare services, less than 30 per cent said they agreed, with most expressing ambivalence towards the idea.

But only nine per cent of the people polled said they strongly disagreed with the principle of paying an additional 1p out of their wages to cover the cost of better healthcare.

A Peak District landscape - the countryside around Sheffield continues to be a big draw.

A Peak District landscape - the countryside around Sheffield continues to be a big draw.