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Burnham vows to repeal Health Act

  • 9 Comments

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has promised to repeal the controversial Health and Social Care Act should Labour win the next election in 2015.

The former health secretary made the pledge yesterday in his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Mr Burnham used much of his speech to criticise the privatisation of the NHS, which he said was taking place in “secret” and at a “pace and scale never seen before”.

He claimed the coalition had inherited a “self-confident and successful NHS” from Labour, which he said had now been reduced to a “service demoralised, destabilised, [and] fearful of the future”.

He told delegates the party needed to give health service staff “hope” for the future.

“To all patients and staff worried about the future, hear me today: the next Labour government will repeal Cameron’s Act,” he said. “We will stop the sell-off, put patients before profits, restore the N in NHS.”

However, Mr Burnham acknowledged that his government had made mistakes while in power. He said some of the NHS private finance initiative deals agreed under Labour were “poor value for money” and that, at times, care of older patients “simply wasn’t good enough”.

“And while we brought waiting lists down to record lows, with the help of the private sector, at times we let the market in too far,” he added.

Mr Burnham also told delegates that the views of a nurse about care of older patients had made an “impression” on him during a hospital visit in the Midlands.

He said: “Too many older people are suffering in hospital, disorientated and dehydrated. When I shadowed a nurse at the Royal Derby, I asked her why this happens.

“It’s not that modern nurses are callous, she said. Far from it, it’s simply that frail people in their 80s and 90s are in hospitals in ever greater numbers and the NHS front-line, designed for a different age, is in danger of being overwhelmed.”

Mr Burnham said current NHS hospitals were “simply not geared to meet people’s social or mental care needs”.

“They can take too much of a production-line approach, seeing the isolated problem – the stroke, the broken hip – but not the whole person behind it. If we don’t change that, we won’t deliver the care people need in an era when there’s less money around,” he said.

Mr Burnham suggested that fully integrating health and social care was a potential solution that Labour would be considering during a health policy review.

“We can get better results for people if we think of one budget, one system caring for the whole person – with councils and the NHS working closely together.”

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that health secretary Jeremy Hunt had said he would not commit to future increases in health spending.

In his first interview after taking on the role, Mr Hunt told the Spectator magazine it was impossible to make such commitments without knowing what the economic outlook was going to look like. However, he said it would be difficult to imagine circumstances in which such spending increases would not happen.

His predecessor, Andrew Lansley, had promised that spending on the NHS would increase in real terms for the foreseeable future, but set a target of finding £20bn efficiency savings by 2015.

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • this is a vote winner

    on a recent "save our nhs" in my local town
    i was told by quite a few who voted tory or lib dem at the last election..and are now horrified as to what is happening with the nhs..they promised the would vote labour next time round if they repeal this dreadful act

    carnt wait until 2015..lets get these idiots out

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  • Time will tell if the "cameron act" gets repealed with the next election. Has mr Burnham spoken to Ed Balls??

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  • Erm,privatisation is happening in secret? Isn't that exactly what Labour were doing too?

    Nice of him to finally admit that PFI was a joke from the start though, as many of us said at the time.

    Don't get me wrong this current Conservative government have been devastating to the NHS and nursing, but Labour weren't exactly good for it either. Both parties, as well as the Lib Dems have proved they are not fit for purpose or to be trusted with the NHS.

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  • The H&SC Act is a complete dogs breakfast, but repeal the Act and we will have more years of chaos and waste. I don't think that CCG's will work, but there is a chance that they will and therefore having got this far, a complete rethink now is premature at best.

    EU Competition Law is driving the tendering of services and them being taken over by the private sector. The Act only accelerates a relentless process.

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  • A sick attempt at vote winning prattle from Burnham. New Labour had 13 years to return the NHS to its pre Thatcher status, instead both Blair and Brown's administrations proceded with the run down of the service set in motion by Tory policy.

    New Labour continue to sell themselves as 'The Labour Party' in fact they are no different in their political aims than the Tories.

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  • michael stone

    I picked up something about this from the media, and I think 'repeal the Act' isn't quite right.

    I think 'tinker with the Act, to reduce competition and introduce more co-operation' is closer: I don't think he committed himself to wiping away all of those structures the Act imposed, and going back to PCTs, SHAs, etc.

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  • http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/our-work/projects/role-market-mechanisms-health-care


    http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/35/12/441.full

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/Scrutiny/SU%20Economics%20in%20practice%20-%20healthcare%20(1).pdf


    http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2012/26-12



    http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/topics/nhs-reform/nhs-white-paper/health-care-regulation

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/12/private-firms-nhs-healthcare-competition

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  • I heard Andy Burnham speak at CPHVA conference. He did commit to repeal the Health & Social Care Bill as it stands. However, he was not going to revert back to PCTs SHA's etc, but was rather going to work with what is in place. The parluiamentary Labour party are currently consulting so if you want to contribute then check out web site and add your views.

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  • I heard Andy Burnham speak at CPHVA conference. He did commit to repeal the Health & Social Care Bill as it stands. However, he was not going to revert back to PCTs SHA's etc, but was rather going to work with what is in place. The parluiamentary Labour party are currently consulting so if you want to contribute then check out web site and add your views.

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