Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt says care home staff in England should have been banned from working in multiple care homes earlier.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Thursday morning, the Conservative chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee told viewers the numbers of people who died from coronavirus in care homes was a 'terrible tragedy'.

"We do need to be better at valuing care home staff," said Mr Hunt.

"But the reality is we had a terrible tragedy with the numbers of people who died from Covid in care homes.

"One of the reasons was the ease the virus came into care homes from the community.

"I think we absolutely have to make sure it's not being carried from care home to care home.

"I know it's difficult and maybe there has to be extra help to care homes to make this happen but I think it's absolutely essential we do this - in fact I wish we'd done this earlier."

Asked if it was practicaly, Mr Hunt said: "I think it's not only practical, it's absolutely essential."

"Countries like Israel and Canada banned care staff from working in more than one care home a long time ago."

Challenged over a scale of the investment needed, he said: "If necessary, we need to make that investment."

It comes as MPs say the social care sector needs £7 billion more a year to avoid a potential collapse of the market.

An immediate boost is needed to avert a feared market collapse caused by providers exclusively offering services to clients who fund their own care over council-funded places, a new report warns.

But this figure would not address the growing problem of unmet need, with the full cost likely to run into tens of billions of pounds, the Health and Social Care Committee said.

MPs say they recognise this is a substantial cost at a time of financial pressure but add that the “gravity” of the crisis facing social care demands such a response.

The coronavirus pandemic has “made it clear that doing nothing is no longer an option”, they say.

Speaking about the funding on GMB, Jeremy Hunt if the funding gap is not met, "we will have a catrastophe, it's as simple as that."

"It is a difficult time, there is no doubt our national coffers have been cleaned out by the pandemic.

"But on the other hand this is the year that the whole country saw how brilliant the care workers were in care homes, putting their own lives on the line, and some of the sadly dying because they were looking after residents in care homes in appalling situations.

"If we're not going to do it this year, I really don't think we're ever going to do it.

"Its been something governments have been talking about for a long time.

"I tried to fix it [as health secretary], I got a settlement for the NHS, but I didn't get one for the social care sector.

"It really is now or never, and I think this is what the country wants. I would really strongly urge the chancellor to bite the bullet on this one."

Good Morning Britain is on ITV from 6am on weekdays.