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#GPnews: BMA says raising council tax will not solve social care crisis affecting NHS

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17:05 Responding to news reports that councils will be given green light to raise council tax by 6% over the next two years to help fund social care, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter has said it will not be enough.

He said: ‘We welcome the measure allowing local councils to increase spending on social care, but this alone will not help address the long term national crisis we are facing in this area. Failures within the social care system impact negatively on an already stretched, overworked and underfunded NHS. The extra funding is likely to raise an extra £200m in the next two years, which is still not enough to plug the estimated social care funding gap by the end of 2020.

‘The current crisis in social care is a direct result of inadequate funding and it shouldn’t just be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix this issue. Politicians from all sides need to come together to agree a long term solution to this growing problem. If the Government wants to truly help councils protect the services caring for the elderly and vulnerable, it needs to inject new investment and funding into social care.’

15:35 People are being encouraged to tweet when they believe they have caught the norovirus winter vomiting disease, reports the Guardian.

The Food Standards Agency has been developing an online epidemiology toolkit since 2013, which uses social media to geotag incidences of people moaning about symptoms associated with the virus, such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea.

The FSA says this has improved the time lag in its ability to track the norovirus, with the new system able to predict outbreaks in the following week between 70% and 80% of the time.

14:20 Health professionals may soon be able to control dementia in patients as well as HIV is today, the head of Britain’s new Dementia Research Institute (DRI) has predicted.

The Independent quotes Professor Bart De Strooper as saying: ‘We won’t be celebrating in 2025 that dementia is cured, but I hope that by then there will be groups of patients who can be treated in much the same way HIV-Aids is treated today.

‘I believe it will happen. I’m very optimistic – the brain is the most plastic organ we have. If you could stabilise the disease at an early stage it might be possible to regain part of the function that seems to be lost.’

Prof De Strooper is putting together a multidisciplinary team of doctors, biologists, engineers and data specialists to work on finding dementia cures and treatments.

He said he hopes to see ‘real surprises’.

11:45 More than a third of GP practices received their CQC inspection report late this year.

Papers for today’s CQC board meeting said: ‘Year to date, 64% of Primary Medical Services reports were published within 50 working days, compared with a plan of 70%.’

09:30 Man flu may be real, according to scientists who have found some viruses are more aggressive in men than women, reports the Daily Mail.

The Royal Holloway, University of London researchers found this to be true for viruses including tuberculosis and HPV but said it was likely to be the case for other pathogens.

Until now it was thought women had stronger immune systems but the scientists now think the virus is less aggressive because women are more valuable hosts.

Lead author Dr Francisco Ubeda said: ‘Survival of the fittest is relevant to all organisms, not just animals and humans.

‘It is entirely probable this sex-specific virulent behavior is happening to many other pathogens causing diseases.’