Key speech by shadow health secretary focuses on end of life care
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has promised voters that Labour will “rescue a shattered service” , saying the NHS will be at the forefront of Labour’s election campaign.
Speaking about the “personal to you and your family” ethos Labour wants to adopt with the NHS, Mr Burnham also revealed that Labour plan to offer free palliative care at home for terminally ill patients. Labour have already committed to injecting £2.5 billion into the NHS, to pay for 36,000 more staff, including GP’s and nurses.
Mr Burnham also commented that Labour would put an end to NHS reorganising, which he labelled as “dismantling”. He stated that Labour want to reinstate the NHS as a “preferred provider” of healthcare services, striving for hospitals to work together rather than in competition.
Labour and the NHS
Dramatically saying that the NHS would “never be for sale” under Labour, Mr Burnham explained that the political party would pursue the full integration of health and social care services, a move which could save billions, put social care on an equal footing and “complete the vision” of former Labour minister Aneurin Bevan, who is regarded as the architect of the NHS.
One aspect of this would be to address the hospitalisation of elderly people, instead offering the right to die at home where clinically possible. He told BBC News “It makes no sense to cut simple support in people’s homes only to spend thousands keeping them in hospital. We can’t afford it. It will break the NHS.” Approximately 60,000 people on the ‘end of life register’ could potentially be offered free care at home in their final months, with new rights for carers also advocated. These include ring fenced funding for a respite break, the right to an annual health check and assistance with parking charges.