Andy Burnham MP: 'Ten year plan' for health and care
At the Health Care Forum reception on Sunday shadow health secretary Andy Burnham touched on some of the key themes he would be announcing in his speech on Wednesday. He told the audience of the partys proposal for a ten year plan for the health and care service, as well as touching upon ideas around public health, discussing a report the shadow health team would be publishing later in the year.
At the Health Care Forum reception on Sunday shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said this year’s conference was going to be a “significant moment for health and care policy”.
He said that in his speech on Wednesday he was going to lay out a plan for health and care in the 21st century that the party would put at centre stage at the general election. It would mean change for the system, Burnham explained. Having spent a couple of years in opposition he said the party were “pretty clear” they had the right way forward and had used the time in opposition for its “real purpose”, to take a step back and think about health and care and where it needed to go.
The one thing he wanted to get across, he said, was that he was trying to create a sense of journey that everyone could believe in.
He described the NHS currently as “pretty shattered and confused” about where it was meant to be heading and said that Labour were trying to create some clarity about the future.
They would be setting out a ten year plan – to give the service some stability so it could embrace the role of a health and care service. He said the plan would take on board fully the recommendations of the Oldham commission on whole person care which reported earlier this year. This would, he said, “set out a real choice on the NHS at the coming election, which did not happen last time”.
“We now need to have a proper debate about the direction and the choices on offer” he added.
He said he would not be outlining the complete plan this week but that he would lay out “some real substance” as to how Labour would move the system to a whole-person system by 2025.
He told the audience that later in the year he and shadow public health minister Luciana Berger would be publishing a public health policy paper and that it was the last chance for organisations to feed into that with thoughts and ideas.
Burnham explained that they wanted to move towards a system with health and wellbeing boards at the centre, operating a social model of care, so that the link could finally be made between health and housing policy, health and planning policy, health and leisure and health and education.
They would be saying more about alcohol policy and particularly about food policy, he went on. The time had come, he argued, for a more ambitious approach to food policy recognising the fact that people are taking on too much sugar and there were rising levels of obesity, particularly amongst children.
The party wanted to signal a new approach, he continued. The shadow secretary of state explained that there would be a focus on children in particular. He said they would be much tougher on intervening when it came to children’s health and were going to propose mandatory maximum levels of fat, salt and sugar in children’s food.
He told the audience they would be continuing to work on smoking and standardised packaging and a new guideline on physical activity.
The debate on health and care at Labour conference would set an important lead for the other parties to have to respond to, he concluded. The Labour vision would be about “people before profits”, delegates heard.
This report was written by Lucy Absolom, health and care specialist at Dods Monitoring