Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham gives speech on health and social care at Labour Party conference

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has given a speech on health and social care at the Labour Party conference, in which he largely reiterated Labour’s commitement to integrated care and repealing the Health and Social Care Act.

In his speech, Burnham criticised the Government’s “top-down reorganisation” of the NHS and what he considers as a plan to “run it down, break it up, sell it off”. The rest of his speech focused mostly on social care provision and his belief that it is unaffordable in its current form, as well as on outlining his proposals for “an NHS for the whole person, an NHS for carers, an NHS personal to you”.

He reiterated Ed Miliband’s commitment that Labour would repeal the Health and Social Care Act and reinstate the NHS as the preferred provider for services, also proposing that private health providers should contribute to the costs of staff training.  He stated that that hospital and other NHS bodies will evolve over a 10-year period into “NHS Integrated Care Organisations”, coordinating all care, physical, mental and social, working from home or from hospital. He also stated that patients and relatives will have a single contact person for all their needs and a personalised care plan to reflect them.

Prior to his main speech, Burnham used a fringe event on Monday to stress that Labour’s 10-year plan to merge health and social care services would not require another reorganisation, but would see existing organisations working more closely together. He added that local government would take a lead in commissioning health services under a Labour administration, in a model that would re-establish “the link between health and education, health and planning, health and leisure, but crucially health and housing”.