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iCareHealth Blog

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Former minister calls for new tax to save NHS and social care

| 30 Aug 2016

A dramatic call for a new health and care tax has been made by a former Tory health minister, amid demands by MPs of all parties for Theresa May to act to save the NHS and the social care system from collapse.

Dr Dan Poulter, who stepped down from the Department of Health last year and now works both as an MP and as a part-time NHS doctor, said his experience inside hospitals had convinced him that radical, long-term funding solutions for the health and care sectors are “urgently required”.

He told the Observer: “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. Good healthcare cannot be delivered without properly funded social care.

“A long-term plan to ensure a properly funded and sustainable health and social care system is urgently required, and I believe a health and care tax – perhaps introduced through raising national insurance – offers one of the simplest ways forward.”

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Living wage has positive impact on care industry, research shows

| 30 Aug 2016

The worst fears about the impact of the national living wage on social care businesses have been confounded by research suggesting it has had a remarkably positive effect on pay rates in the traditionally low-wage sector.

When the statutory minimum of £7.20 an hour for all workers aged 25 or over was announced – an increase of 50p on the previous floor – employers in social care warned that they would struggle to pay it on profit margins that were already low.

Care England, the umbrella body for the bigger companies in the sector, which employs 1.6 million people in England alone, forecast on the eve of the new rate taking effect in April that the added cost would be the “the final straw” for some businesses teetering on the brink of viability.

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GPs should be a gateway to social care and support services

| 16 Aug 2016

The main role of GPs has always been treating common medical conditions and referring patients to hospitals or other services for urgent and specialist treatment.

But gradually the role of GPs and primary care teams are changing. Driven by the integration agenda – which seeks a greater level of collaboration across frontline services – but also by the changing nature of the population’s health needs and rising demand on the NHS, new kinds of primary care services are being established.

Increasingly, patients are able to access GP-led hubs offering a range of services, or are given a social prescription that provides them with access to non-medical support, such as social clubs, peer networks or arts therapy and gardening. However, even with growing evidence that these models of care can reduce long-term demand on acute services, we have not yet seen a major shift in this direction.

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