A new tax is desperately needed in order to fund the NHS and social care system, a Tory doctor and former health minister has said.
Dan Poulter said his experience working in hospitals had convinced him that a long-term plan was required to make sure that the health and social care system was properly funded.
He suggested that increasing national insurance contributions could be the "simplest" way forward.
Dr Poulter told The Observer: "On the hospital wards I often see people who are medically fit to go home, but who are forced to stay in hospital because of difficulties arranging their social care package or because of a lack of appropriate housing.
"Good healthcare cannot be delivered without properly funded social care.
"A long-term plan to ensure a properly funded and sustainable health and social care system is urgently required, and I believe a health and care tax - perhaps introduced through raising National Insurance - offers one of the simplest ways forward."
His comments come just days after it was revealed that the NHS is planning to close services like A&E departments and district hospitals amid a funding crisis.