Lord McColl, a former surgeon said: “We are in the middle of the worst epidemic for 97 years – the obesity epidemic – which is, as you know, causing huge increases in diabetes, dementia, heart disease, joint disease, cirrhosis of the liver and so on.”Too much Government advice was focussed on the role of exercise in combating obesity, when “Exercise has very little to do with it. It is good for other things, but not for reducing obesity,” he said.”My reading of the evidence is the same as yours, which is that it needs to be both,” he said. “We’re not going to deal with the pressures of obesity simply by arguing for greater exercise. We have got to change dietary intake.”At the same hearing, the Health Secretary signalled that he would back tax rises for the NHS in the long-term. But Jeremy Hunt also urged young people to save now to pay for their old age.Mr Hunt said increasing spending on health and social care was a “sensible choice” he would support, if the economy is strong enough. “We are going to have to find a way of devoting a greater share of our national resources into health and social care without doubt,” he said. Jeremy Hunt However, he said this rested on a strong economy – with the biggest risk to the principles behind the NHS was if the economy went “pear-shaped”.“That is the thing that we all have to worry about most of all, I don’t think it will – happily we are doing better than many feared post-Brexit but that is the biggest single risk,” he said.”If the economy continues to grow then it is a choice for governments to continue with the current funding model. I personally think it is a pretty sensible choice and its probably the choice closest to what most British people want,” he told the committee.Mr Hunt said any funding increases should be made via taxation. But he said major changes were needed to help ensure the country could afford the costs of caring for a growing elderly population. “I do think we need to do some radical thinking about how we tackle that problem because at the moment we’re not in that place.”The name of the game is to find a way of getting people in their 20s and 30s to think that this is actually part of being a citizen to think about what’s going to happen when you’re much older – in a more realistic way than is currently happening.” The head of the NHS said there was an “immediacy” about the need for extra social care cash in order to relive pressure on hospitals Credit:PA Obesity is one of the greatest problems facing Britain, peers heardCredit:PA Mr Stevens said the existing “triple lock” policy, which promises increases in the state pension, should in future be replaced by a “triple guarantee” which took account of an overall package of housing, income and care.“We need to go beyond just thinking about the health and social care funding and also think about whats happening in the benefits system, the pension system and so forth,” he said.The head of the NHS suggested that he might support long term moves to compulsory insurance to fund care for pensioners.“If we are looking at some form of insurance model it needs to be some form of social insurance model or mandatory long term care coverage, because I think you get market failure in private insurance markets for long-term care,” he told the committee.Labour peer Lord Lipsey asked him: “Surely the most immediate, now crisis-level, problem is that there just isn’t enough social care. You’ve got 26 per cent less people living at home supported by local authority carers. You’ve got 5,000 care home beds already lost in the last year and many more under threat. “So more and more, you’ve got to put up people in your hospitals because there is nowhere else to go. Isn’t that the priority crisis that faces us over the next few years?””Yes it is,” Mr Stevens told the committee.Peers also questioned the NHS chief executive on Britain’s obesity problem, with record levels of obesity among children. There is an “unarguable” case for an urgent cash injection into social care to fend off an immediate crisis in care of the elderly, the head of the NHS has said.Simon Stevens made the plea as he mooted long-term moves towards a system of compulsory insurance to cover the cost of care home fees, or care in the home.The chief executive said social care should be “first in the queue” for any extra funding available, agreeing with peers that the situation had reached crisis point.He told a House of Lords committee that the consequences of a deterioration in social care services had become “unarguable” with hospitals and elderly individuals bearing the brunt.“I think there is a very strong case for some immediate support now,” he told the committee on Long Term Sustainability of the NHS.“There is an immediacy,” he stressed.The head of the NHS urged the Government to think “more broadly” in the longer-term about the way benefits and care of the elderly is funded. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Unarguable case that care for elderly needs more money says NHS chief
Last Updated on: September 25th, 2019 at 8:15 am, by