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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Extra NHS cash will 'go down the drain' without action on social care

Written by Nick Lester

A multi-billion pound increase in NHS funding will "go down the drain" unless action is taken on social care, a leading medic has warned.

Labour peer Lord Turnberg, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, stressed the need to prioritise this area.

He was responding to the Government's announcement of an extra £20.5 billion-a-year for the health service.

The Prime Minister has said the public will have to pay "a bit more" in tax to fund the move, while also claiming part the increase will be paid for by a widely-derided "Brexit dividend".

The suggestion has been criticised as unrealistic, even by some Conservatives.

Lord Turnberg (pictured) welcomed the additional funding, but added: "Everyone knows that without changes in social care, without improvement in social care, this 3.5% will go down the drain as well.

"It's not just that we need to do both together we do need the social care at the same time if not in front of the influx of funds for the NHS."

Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy acknowledged "the two have to go hand in glove".

He pointed additional money had been made available for social care by the Chancellor to the tune of £2 billion over three years.

Lord O'Shaughnessy added: "Clearly that was a short-term measure.

"What we need to do now is find that long-term settlement that goes hand in hand with the NHS and we have true service integration as well."

Labour peer Lord Davies of Stamford, a vocal opponent of leaving the EU, criticised the "PR spin" around claims of a "Brexit dividend" and accused the Government of misleading the public.

He argued there was a "Brexit penalty" due to lower economic performance.

Lord O'Shaughnessy said some of the new investment in the NHS would come from not sending membership subscriptions to the EU after Brexit.

"It is those funds which will in part go to help us solve this particular funding challenge that we have set ourselves for the NHS."

Tory peer and former surgeon Lord McColl of Dulwich argued that if people suffering from type 2 diabetes ate less, it would save the NHS billions as well as curing most of the condition.

He said: "Does the minister agree that the obesity epidemic is costing well over £25 billion a year and would he consider having an all out campaign...not to tell people what to do but to tell them the truth.

"For instance, there are four million type 2 diabetics all due to overeating and if they ate less the saving would be terrific and most of them would be cured of their diabetes."

Lord O'Shaughnessy said the Government's goal was to "reduce this plague" on children and adults.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Parliament TV.