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Andy Burnham MP

Shadow Health Secretary

Green Box: Andy BurnhamClick to open

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Stories involving Andy Burnham

Labour pledges cap on fat, salt and sugar

Labour would impose limits on the amount of fat, salt and sugar allowed in food marketed to children, under plans unveiled by Andy Burnham.

In a speech to the think tank Demos today, the Shadow Health Secretary criticised the Government's approach to industry.

"Children need better protection from the pressures of modern living and the harm caused by alcohol, sugar and smoke, and Labour will not flinch from taking the action needed to provide it," Mr Burnham said.

However he moved to distance himself from a suggestion the plans represented the 'nanny state', saying he wanted to avoid appearing "overly interfering or finger wagging".

And in setting out plans to introduce tighter regulation, including standardised ciagrette packaging, Mr Burnham accused the Government of being "too close" to vested interests.

This morning he told BBC Breakfast that the amount of sugar and fat in food posed a real risk to children's health, but denied  products would be banned under Labour's rules.

"The problem at the moment is I think you need a chemistry degree to read a cereal packet, its quite complicated if you look at the tables and the percentages and everything else," he said.

"If [companies] didn’t [comply with new rules] they’d have to change the way they marketed the product, and that would be a decision for them." The Conservatives have dismissed the move as “naïve” and said “the public deserve better”.

The news comes as a 12-year study concluded that a lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people in Europe as obesity.


NHS hospitals could see expansion of private care

NHS hospitals will be free to gain up to half their income from private work in a move which risks increased Coalition tensions over health reforms, The Times reports.

Critics have warned that the changes, in which foundation hospitals will have their private patient income cap raised dramatically, could lead to a "two-tier health system".

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham expressed his concern, saying: "This surprise move, sneaked out just before Christmas, is the clearest sign yet of David Cameron's determination to turn our precious NHS into a US-style commercial system, where hospitals are more interested in profits than people."

The warning comes as the Telegraph reports that more than 1m people were registered with a GP who served more than 3,000 patients, almost twice the average list size of 1,600.


Burnham: Govt 'burying' cost of NHS reform

The Shadow Health Secretary has said that the Government are "burying" the true cost of NHS reform, claiming that the coalition's plans will cost nearly £3.4 billion. Andy Burnham says that the overhaul will cost £1.69 billion this year and £1.7 billion in 2011/12.


Clash over A&E stats

Labour and the Conservatives have traded barbs about the health service amid a row over whether performance data of A&E units should be published over Christmas.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham claimed there was a “news blackout” since NHS England did not intend to release the data for three weeks over the festive period.

He was granted an Urgent Question on the issue in the Commons this morning, when he said authorities were already collecting the data.

“There is absolutely no reason why it should not be published,” he argued.

But Jeremy Hunt pointed out the data have never been released at this time of year.

“We have never published figures over the Christmas period because to do so would mean we would have to force NHS staff to work over Christmas when actually otherwise, where it’s possible, we would like them to be able to go home for Christmas,” the Health Secretary told MPs.

He went on to criticise Mr Burnham, accusing him of trying to “undermine” the work of frontline staff by criticising the Government’s handling of the NHS.

“The NHS is performing well under a great deal of pressure. He should commend the efforts being made by frontline staff and not undermine them by trying to turn the NHS into a political football.”


Care reforms could be delayed to 2025

The Government has admitted that parts of planned reforms to the elderly care system may not come into effect before 2025. Andrew Lansley also refused to rule out the possibility of a tax on pensioners to fund the rising costs of care. Andy Burnham hit out at the Government for the delay on reforms, saying the problem was “urgent” and “this is not good enough from the Health Secretary”.

Andrew Dilnot, who chaired a review into elderly care, said this morning that such a delay would be "completely unacceptable". He told the BBC's Today programme the Government should act by Easter next year: "I see no official sign that there is any suggestion that a decision will be delayed beyond that, and any such delay would be a betrayal of peoples’ trust."


Four shadow ministers face parliamentary inquiry

Four Labour shadow ministers face a parliamentary inquiry for failing to register potential conflicts of interest. Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liam Byrne are all accused of seeking to amend legislation in favour of trade unions from which they received funding.