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Better Care Fund gets 18,000 care worker boost, UK national sperm bank opens, and UK veterans deprived of psychological support

The headlines in most papers today, Jeremy Hunt has announced an ‘army’ of 18,000 community workers who will work with NHS nurses, physios and other staff to support schemes for out of hospital care, funded by the Better Care Fund.

The £5.3 billion fund is intended to allow 2,000 frail elderly people to be cared for at home and prevent 160,000 admissions to casualty each year.

The health secretary told the Telegraph the fund will ‘change the basic NHS model from one centred on hospital care to one that helps people stay healthy and happy at home.’

Also in the papers, the BBC reports the UK national sperm bank has opened at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, it is hoped it will help tackle Britain’s declining donor rates.

Helped by a £77,000 grant from the Department of Health, it comes as research shows one in ten IVF births uses donor sperm, but there are particularly acute shortages of non-white donors.

Demand outstripping supply means British women increasingly use donors from overseas, in the USA or Scandinavia leading to a ‘Viking babies’ phenomenon.

And the Guardian reports that British veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are being ‘deprived’ of the support they need, and say it’s in part because these overseas wars ‘pale’ in the public memory.

MPs have said veterans are facing ‘shocking’ backlogs in claims for war pensions and compensation payments, and a lack of psychological support is leading to ‘hazardous levels of alcohol consumption, post-traumatic stress disorder, and domestic violence.

A report by the Commons defence committee says: ‘Urgent action is needed to reduce the harm caused by the abuse of alcohol to armed forces personnel and their families.’