A BARNSLEY MP has called for urgent action to protect the NHS after new statistics showed that the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment has risen by 20 per cent.

John Healey spoke out after a recent survey showed the biggest drop in public satisfaction with the NHS in almost 30 years.

Results from the annual British Social Attitudes survey show that public satisfaction has fallen from 70 per cent last year to 53 per cent - the largest drop since the survey started in 1983.

The study, funded by the King’s Fund think tank, questioned 1,096 people about their views on health care between July and November last year. It also found drops in satisfaction with GPs, inpatient and outpatient services and accident and emergency services.

He said: “The lessons to be learnt from this survey are clear: people want to see their NHS properly protected.”