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What has Boris Johnson announced in his social care plan?

social care

What has Boris Johnson announced in his social care plan?

Boris Johnson has given the first outlines of what Downing Street is billing as a once-in-a-generation shake-up of adult social care plan  and how it is funded, which will also help pay for a post-Covid catch-up programme for the NHS.

What has been announced?

In brief: a plan to finance adult social care through tax changes, and to modernise the social care system and ensure it is better integrated with healthcare. In the short term, much of the money being raised will finance the NHS to catch up with elective surgery and other appointments delayed due to Covid. While the financing plan is UK-wide, the actual implementation of health and social care is run by each UK nation.

How is it being paid for?

From April 2022, national insurance contributions for employees, employers and the self-employed will rise by 1.25 percentage points, and there will be the same rise in dividends tax. From April 2023, while the rises will stay the same, the tax rise will be rebranded as a health and social care levy, which will appear separately on people’s tax records.

How much will be raised and what will it be spent on?

How much is raised depends, obviously, on revenues, but Downing Street says that for the next three years the tax rise will give an additional £12bn a year for health and social care plan . Of this combined £36bn, £5.4bn over the three years is earmarked for social care in England, with about £500m of this earmarked for training; £16bn will be used for direct NHS England funding; £8.9bn will go on what is termed a “health-based Covid response”, seemingly the NHS England catchup; and £5.7bn will go to devolved nations, to cover both health and social care. It is not clear what proportion will be allocated to social care once the first three years are up.

What will people have to pay for their social care?

Currently in England, if people have assets worth more than £23,250, they have to pay for their social care, and there is no cap on costs, meaning some people have to sell their homes to cover these. Under the new system, anyone with assets below £20,000 will not have to pay anything from these, although they might have to make a contribution from any income.

Those with assets from £20,000 to £100,000 and above will have to contribute, on a sliding scale, although the details are set out, and it depends on contributions from local authorities, which deliver much of social care. However, people in this bracket will not contribute more than 20% of their assets each year, and once their assets are worth less than £20,000, they would pay nothing more, although they might still contribute from any income.

Those with assets above £100,000 must meet all fees until their assets fall below £100,000. There is a maximum payment towards care of £86,000, which ministers say is about the equivalent of three years of full-time care.

This new means test system comes into force in October 2023 – until that point some people will still have to pay more than £86,000 in total.

What other changes are planned for social care?

Beyond the promise to bring the health and social care systems together, there is little detail so far on the overhaul of social care, beyond the prospect of a white paper to develop longer-term plans. The current plan does pledge £500m over three years for social care workforce training and recruitment, and extra money set aside to local authorities to help deliver social care, and to deliver the integration, though without any specific sums for these.

Is this a UK-wide system?

National insurance is a UK-wide system, although rates and thresholds can differ. The income from the new levy will be distributed across the four UK nations. The government says that by 2024-25, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from an extra £1.1bn, £700m and £400m respectively. However, health and social care are devolved and differ significantly, meaning issues such as the cap and floor for people’s personal outgoings on care will also vary.

How much will the higher NI rates cost people?

According to Downing Street figures, someone earning £24,100 a year would pay an extra £180 a year. A person on £67,100 would pay £715 more. Those earning less than £9,500 a year, the threshold for national insurance, will still pay nothing. Although people above the state pension age who still work do not normally pay national insurance, once the rise is rebranded as a health and social care levy from 2023, they will pay this.

Why is the NHS getting so much of the money?

Because, Downing Street says, routine NHS work has been so badly hit by Covid, with a waiting list in England for elective treatments of 5.5 million people, which ministers say could reach 13 million by the end of the year. The extra money is intended to fund 9m more appointments, operations and treatments.

Will the money ever be moved from the NHS to social care?

Time will tell. Downing Street insists that after the coming few years the exceptional demands on the NHS will reduce, and there will be more money free for social care. However, NHS budgetary demands have rarely, if ever, gone down in the past, and this could prove quite a political challenge.

Does this solve the social care crisis?

No – this is just a first step on how a plan may be financed, with almost all details of how care and health can be better integrated still to be worked out. And while the government’s 32-page plan pledges that councils will have access to sufficient funds to meet their social care demands, local authorities have long complained that they are left short.

This article was amended on 8 September 2021. An earlier version gave two different figures in the text and a graphic for the amount of money set aside for social care workforce training over three years: £500,000 and £500m. The latter is correct. Also, another graphic indicated that the state completely funds the care of people with personal assets below £23,250; this figure is £14,250.

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AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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