Andy Burnham has this morning delivered his speech on the NHS at Labour’s Annual Conference. As expected Burnham focused his criticism on the “top-down re-organisation” of the system 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”.
Burnham devoted most of his speech talking about social care and reiterated the point that a Labour Government would repeal the health and Social Care Act (“We will free the NHS from Cameron’s market and, yes, repeal his toxic Health and Social Care Act”) and reinstate the NHS as the preferred provider, while 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. The Shadow Health Secretary added that mental health nurses and therapists would see their role reinforced by being put “at the heart of this team”, as opposed to being on the fringes, while private health providers will be asked to contribute to the costs of the necessary training.
Speaking on carers, Burnham announced new measures to support them: protected funding for breaks, the right to ask for an annual health check and help with hospital car parking.