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National insurance hike to plug NHS gap, mental health services failing children and why brushing your teeth could prevent a heart attack

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 19 May

A story from The Observer over the weekend reveals the Government may be exploring ways to raise tax in order to plug a looming £30 billion gap in NHS funding.

Labour MP Frank Field says he is set to meet with health secretary Jeremy Hunt to discuss his proposal for a 1% rise in national insurance contributions, something he says the public would welcome if the money was guaranteed to be spent on health and social care.

The paper says this could be a move by the Tories to ‘outflank’ Labour on health after shadow chancellor Ed Balls MP reportedly ruled out the idea.

Elsewhere, The Guardian/Observer also has a story on how mental health services are failing children, based on an internal report from NHS England showing only one in four children with a mental health problem is getting the help they need.

The report found that while 35% of adults with anxiety or diagnosable depression are not in contact with mental health services, this rises to 76% of those aged five to 15 - yet only 6% of spending on mental health goes on services aimed at children and young people, even though 50% of lifetime mental illness starts by the age of 14.

And lastly, there’s yet more evidence good oral health is also good for your heart, according to The Telegraph.

The paper reports on a study - admittedly in mice - that showed bacteria in the mouth migrated to the heart and aorta where they promoted inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Lead researcher Irina Velsko said: ‘The mouth is the gateway to the body and our data provides one more piece of a growing body of research that points to direct connections between oral health and systemic health.’

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