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Former Tory health minister calls for dedicated tax to pay for NHS

Conservative Party MP and former health minister Dr Dan Poulter has proposed raising taxes to pay for health and social care.

Dr Poulter, who stepped down as a junior minister last year, is now back to practising part time as an obstetrician in the NHS and raised the problems of patients being forced to stay in hospital due to funding shortages.

He said he thinks a 'health and care tax', for example by raising national insurance, was 'one of the simplest ways forward' to solve the problems.

Dr Poulter 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.'

Labour shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said that social care is 'disintegrating, with mounting misery for patients and families'.

She said: 'This puts huge pressure on the NHS, both in terms of the elderly coming into A&E because they can't get care in the community, and people occupying beds unnecessarily at the end of their treatment because there is no social care package.

'The Tories should be fixing the mess they have created and ensuring that the NHS has the money it needs, including looking at expenditure on PFI, agency staff and the inflated drugs bill.

'The Tories have betrayed the British people by failing to fund the NHS properly - and it is patients who are paying the price.'

Readers' comments (5)

  • Two years ago at the Health and Care conference at the Excel I suggested that there should be a local health and care tax like there is for the police. I was shot down in flames by nearly everyone for my audacity ! With the way the allocation formula works for both health and social care a possible solution is to get the public to be able to determine how much they want to spend on their health and care . It may focus their attention on preventing illness and keeping healthy . It would make everyone responsible to maintain the health and wellbeing of the public. Then all the blame games can stop and we can wake up to the reality of the growing burden of care.

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  • What could we call this hypothecated tax? Well, it's a UK-wide plan to cover against illness an injury. So let's call it....national insurance!

    Perhaps pensioners should pay this too.

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  • Tories asking to pay more tax!!!!!!!
    It will never happen (and anyway George Osborne promised no increases through this parliament)

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  • Except of course, George Osbourne is no longer Chancellor so it could all change (Post Brexit) - Couldn't we get the trade unions to fund the NHS?

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  • I have not found anyone who would not be prepared to pay 1p more on income tax if it were to be utterly ring-fenced for the front line NHS. Not for funding NHS England, CQC, other health quangos, managers' salaries, research, public health etc, but purely for hands on staff pay, drugs and operations. But it is a utopian dream, no politician would ever agree to true ring fencing.

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