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BMA supports banning cigarette sales to those born after 2000

The British Medical Association (BMA) has voted to support a ban on cigarette sales to people born after the year 2000.

Delegates at the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting passed the motion of a "forever" ban following a spirited debate on the issue.

The leading doctors' union voted on the motion at its Annual Representative Meeting. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Dr Tim Crocker-Buque, who proposed the ban, told ITV News he was "very encouraged to have the support of the UK's medical profession" on this issue.

"[We have] lots of work to do now to develop and implement the policy," he added.

Equality for mental health patients urged

People with mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities are dying earlier as a result of a failure to address their needs by the NHS, the doctors' union has warned.

Urgent action is needed to ensure equal value is placed on both patients' mental and physical health in the face of "distressing" evidence about the life expectancy of the mentally ill and people with learning disabilities, a report by the British Medical Association (BMA) board of science has said.

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BMA: Osborne 'doing nothing' on NHS funding shortfalls

Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of doing "nothing" to address funding shortfalls in the NHS in his latest Budget.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association, said: "Despite claiming the economy is on the up, today's Budget does nothing to address the crippling funding shortfall in the NHS.

The British Medical Association accused George Osborne of doing 'nothing' to address funding shortfalls in the NHS. Credit: PA Wire

"While the Government claims the NHS budget is protected, in reality it's suffered £20 billion of cuts, billions of which have come from a sustained attack on staff pay.

"Without the investment needed to meet rising patient demand and put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing the Government need to face up to the reality that patient care, and indeed the very future of the NHS, will be at risk."

GP: funds cut will have 'huge impact' on a small practice

GP Dr Katharina Frey, who runs a small practice in Cumbria, appeared on ITV's Daybreak this morning to discuss her concerns over plans to phase out the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG).

"Our actual patient numbers are quite low, but we have quite high overheads, so we don't really have the economies of scale" she told the programme.

Dr Frey warned the "viability" of the practice might be threatened by funding cuts.

"We want to be able to provide excellent care, but if more and more funding is going to disappear, this will be getting increasingly difficult."

Government will 'phase out' GP funding arrangement

The Government has decided to phase out a funding arrangement called the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) over a seven-year period, beginning in April - a move that doctors' leaders have warned could force around 100 GP practices to close.

MPIG means many smaller GP practices are guaranteed a minimum level of funding that is not dependent on the number of patients on their practice list.

NHS England has published an anonymised list of 98 'outlier' practices that could lose more than £3 per patient per year.

Some practices on the list will lose more than £100 per patient per year while others stand to lose around £20 or £30 per patient.

Patients in rural England 'could be left without a GP'

Around 100 GP practices could be forced to close due to cuts in national funding, leaving patients in rural areas without a GP, doctors' leaders have warned.

Around 100 GP practices in rural areas could be forced to close due to cuts in national funding. Credit: PA

Changes to how practices are paid mean some could no longer be viable, despite the fact some "provide vital services to thousands of rural patients", the British Medical Association (BMA) said.

It warned that large areas of rural England could be left with no GP practice for local residents.

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Pensioners face 'huge care bills despite capping plans'

Pensioners could still face huge bills for residential care despite the Government's plan to cap costs at £72,000, according to Labour calculations.

The Government's cap does not cover accommodation and living expenses, and care costs only count towards the limit at the rate the local council would pay for a place in a residential home.

Labour analysis showed that as a result it will take almost five years for elderly people to hit the cap - during which time they will have clocked up more than £150,000 for their actual residential care home bill.

  • In 2016/17 when the cap is due to come into effect the average council rate for residential care is estimated to be £522 a week, but the average price of a care home bed will be £610 a week.
  • The difference between the council rate and what pensioners actually pay will not count towards the cap
  • Pensioners in care homes will also have to pay £230 a week for their accommodation, which is counted separately from care costs and does not count towards the cap

Lamb: Care cap 'does not include bed and lodging'

The Government cap on care "does not include the cost of board and lodging", the care minister Norman Lamb told Daybreak.

Instead, the Government will set a cap on "the care that you need", such as "help with washing", the Lib Dem MP explained.

"Of course you would want to go further in having the cap lower - I understand that, we all want to do that, but it has to be sustainable.

"And the problem is we are all living longer and the costs of care keep escalating."

He added: "It's a bit rich for Labour to criticise it because over 13 years, they did absolutely nothing."

Pensioners 'could face care bill of £150,000'

Caps on the cost of care in old age could be more than double what was expected in new measures proposed by the Government, according to Labour figures.

MPs will debate the Care Bill, which will enact a new system of funding, today in the House of Commons. Credit: PA

Calculations produced by the Labour Party show that pensioners could have to spend over £150,000 on care.

The Coalition has promised to set a legal limit of £72,000 on the sums that residents can be charged for care, saying the cap will prevent people having to raise funds by selling their homes.

But Labour say some costs such as accommodation and food won't be covered by the cap, leading to higher overall costs of care.

Doctors: Care Bill would allow 'back door' changes

The British Medical Association has warned against amendments added to the Government's Care Bill, saying they would allow the Health Secretary to "force changes through the back door".

BMA Council chair Dr Mark Porter said aspects of the legislation had been "rushed through". Credit: PA

Referring to ministers' recent defeat over attempts to cut A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital, Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA Council, said:

"As we saw with Lewisham Hospital any attempt to use the failure of a hospital to force through change at neighbouring trusts can result in unnecessary strain on services, patient uncertainty and a huge cost to the taxpayer.

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