Most people (79%) would prefer to receive treatment for serious or life-threatening illnesses from the NHS rather than a private hospital, a report has found.
Doctors who were also questioned for the survey were more evenly split, with 49% saying they believe patients receive better care on the NHS.
Three in five (59%) doctors would personally prefer to receive emergency care from the NHS, but just a third (35%) would choose the health service for cancer treatment and 32% for maternity care.
The British Health Report 2015, commissioned by personal injury and negligence firm Your Legal Friend, found private healthcare still plays a role in the UK for non-urgent surgery.
More than half (56%) of the 1,300 members of the public questioned for the poll would choose private treatment over the NHS for plastic surgery, facial surgery (52%) and laser eye surgery (51%).
The survey, which also involved 400 doctors, found nearly three fifths (58%) had treated patients following blunders in their private treatment, most frequently following orthopaedic problems (25%), general surgery (22%) and emergency care (21%).
Laura Morgan, director of medical negligence at Your Legal Friend, said: "In recent months we have witnessed increasing concerns about the capability and the sustainability of the NHS.
"However, our British Health Report demonstrates that the public clearly values NHS services over private facilities, particularly for serious illnesses and emergencies.
"This is a clear sign of public confidence in the NHS's ability to deliver emergency, intensive and acute care for the UK public.
"It is fundamental that, whichever medical provider patients choose for their treatment, they receive the proper standard of care and are aware that, if their healthcare provider does not deliver this and they have suffered an injury as a result, they have the right to seek professional legal advice."