Ex minister calls for new tax to fund NHS and care

Food Safety Impact

Former Tory health minister Dan Poulter has called for a new tax to fund the health and social care system.

Mr Poulter told the Observer that radical, long-term funding solutions were “urgently required” to fund the health and care sectors.

The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP said: “On the hospital wards I often see people who are medically fit to go home, but who are forced to stay in hospital because of difficulties arranging their social care package, or because of a lack of appropriate housing.

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“A long-term plan to ensure a properly funded and sustainable health and social care system is urgently required.”

The Conservative government has delayed a scheme to cap individual care costs at £72,000 until 2020 after it was announced last year.

Mr Poulter said that with care costs rising, there was now little chance of the policy being introduced at all.

He added: “Linking tax income with health and care spending would give people the opportunity to see how their money is being spent, and allow a legitimate debate about what is an appropriate level of taxation required to ensure a sustainable funding settlement for our NHS and social care system in the years ahead.

”England remains one of the few major advanced countries that has not reformed the way it funds long-term care in response to the needs of an ageing population.

“A frank and open debate is needed on how to fund health and social care on a sustainable basis into the future, recognising that a long-term strategy will exceed the lifetime of a single Parliament.”

A Citizens Advice study published last week found that three in five people who have taken money out of their pension have not planned how they will meet future care costs (see People not planning for future care costs).

Prestige Nurse + Care, meanwhile, recently revealed that care home costs has soared past the £30,000 mark for the first time (see Care home costs soar past £30,000 mark).

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