Whole-Person Care

Today, Shadow Secretary for Health Andy Burnham gave hope to all in the country with his and Labour’s vision for the future of health and social care provision.

I was delighted to attend the launch of his Whole-Person Care policy review which outlined the parameters in which Labour was seeking to take health and social care in the future.

In 1997, the scandal was waiting lists. People in this country were dying while they waited for operations and because of that, meeting targets became a priority area of focus for the Labour administration. But the challenges that faced the sector at the end of the last decade and is becoming ever more apparent now requires a shift in priorities.

Andy Burnham argued for wholesale integration of Health and Social Care. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 was condemned and he pledged to repeal it if Labour came back into power. In fact, the whole discussion abut the Act itself ended up being all about Health and had a ‘we’ll deal with the social care bit later’ approach.

What he did concede was that the reform that Labour brings in will work with the bodies that he inherits in 2015 if Labour win the next general election. The NHS had already undergone straining top down organisational change under this Tory Liberal Government and it would not be right to make them do it again. Instead, he indicated that there would be a refocus on what these bodies do. Health and Wellbeing Boards should be the main commissioning body and Clinical Commissioning Groups would be advisory. These new Boards were best placed to shape both health and social care provision through one budget.

English: NHS logo

It would also mean commissioning of adaptations in the same process in recognition that this saves money in the long run and delays the need for expensive care provision because of risk aversion.

At the moment, we are faced with a situation where people have physical needs, mental health needs and social needs, but there is a lack of coordination between the services. One person, three care services. The gaps between them are frankly dangerous.

Council services are being cut to the bare bone and our projections show that in Brent, the budget shortfall because of cuts and rising demand to our social care services by 2020 will be £45 million. The Local Government Association has said that if this area is not reformed then money spent on more ‘popular’ services will reduce around the country by 90%.

A full transcript of Andy Burnham’s speech can be found here – LINK

The Whole-Person Care approach was well received by the audience which stretched well beyond the party faithful and starts a landmark process to truly reform health and social care services for the better.

Popular tweet from Labour Party Conference

This tweet that I posted during the Labour Party conference has received 103 retweets and been favourited six times so I thought I would blog it due to popular demand!



Key tests that North West London Hospital reconfiguration should be subject to

Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP said in a recent Parliamentary debate that I blogged on earlier on Health that…

In 2010, the Secretary of State set out four tests that all proposed reconfigurations had to pass. They related to support from general practitioners, strengthened public and patient engagement, clear clinical evidence and support for patient choice. He said:

“Without all those elements, reconfigurations cannot proceed.”

So let me ask the Minister: does he think that the A and E units closing at Ealing, Hammersmith, Charing Cross and Central Middlesex pass that test? How about St Helier, King George, Newark and Rugby?

Alan Milburn’s appointment is a great advert for Labour

There’s been a great deal of hoo haa over former Labour Party Minister Alan Milburn’s appointment this weekend as the Coalitions Government’s mobility Tsar. John Prescott has branded him a collaborator and Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has gone on record to say that Milburn should reconsider his position. Whilst I am disappointed with Frank Field’s and John Hutton’s appointments, I’ve come to a different conclusion with Milburn’s appointment.

The appointment represents an acknowledgement of the lack of talent in the Conservative and Lib Dem benches. David Cameron and Nick Clegg clearly do not have anyone within their own party ranks capable or possessing the right qualities to advise on social mobility.

It also signals a bitter blow to the think tank, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, as the CSJ have been looking into the field of social mobility for years. A Labour politician being given the role disregards the work of the CSJ.

With all the cuts coming from this Government and the lack of investment in young people, his expertise can at least bring some progressive element into this Coalition Government who have done nothing but damage the prospects of young people so far.

The reason I have time for Alan Milburn is his approach to internships. Many MPs exploit the system and give young people internships to avoid paying them a wage, when in fact, they are carrying out roles with job descriptions to which there is a competitive recruitment process. For young people, there is no other route to break into Westminster and no alternative but to take the intern route into politics.

When in Parliament, Alan Milburn was one of the few that paid a national minimum wage to ‘interns’ and all MPs should follow suit.

Good News About the NHS

The NHS has been ranked as having one of the best primary health care systems in the world by the respected Commonwealth Fund. Learn more here.

This has only been achieved because of the hard work of NHS staff, and because of Labour’s investment in and commitment to our NHS.

Doctors from around the world were surveyed on their healthcare systems. The NHS was rated the best in several areas: only British doctors rated the quality of care as continually improving, and the NHS is the least likely to report long waiting times for patients referred for specialist care.burnham

For instance thanks to Labour, if your GP suspects you may have cancer, you will be referred to a specialist within two weeks – it‘s a guarantee.  A fast diagnosis followed by timely and effective treatment is a big part in the fight against cancer.

Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP

Andy Burnham writes letter to David Cameron on the NHS

Government Health Minister Andy Burnham has written to Conservative leader David Cameron, questioning the Conservative Party’s actual support for the NHS as a collective unit. Have a read of the letter below:

Dear David,

On Friday you claimed that the Conservatives are the party of the NHS.  I found that surprising.  It goes without saying that every single MP, MEP and member of the Labour Party endorses the NHS.  The same cannot be said of your party.

I understand why you want to make this claim to show your party has changed – but people will still have doubts.  Therefore, to put some substance behind your claims, will you take formal action against those who do not endorse your views on the NHS?

Today I am challenging you to take three steps which could reassure people that the Conservatives have truly changed when it comes to the NHS.

1.    Will you rescind your Party Conference invitation to those members of the Atlantic Bridge who have rubbished our NHS? Liam Fox is reportedly holding a drinks reception at your conference for a group called the ‘Atlantic Bridge’. But its American board members include vehement opponents of health reform – and one of them has praised Dan Hannan for rubbishing our NHS.  Will you rescind this invitation from any of the group’s members who have misrepresented the NHS?

2.    Will you withdraw the whip from Dan Hannan for his attacks on the NHS? It is not just that Mr Hannan doesn’t endorse the NHS.  He went out of his way to talk it down and misrepresent it publicly.  Therefore will you withdraw the whip – as you did from one of your other MEPs after he opposed the controversial Michal Kaminksi as head of your new European grouping?

3.    Will you demand that your Shadow Ministers resign from the Cornerstone Group? The right-wing Cornerstone Group counts many Shadow Ministers among its members, including your Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson.  Yet it has published a report describing the NHS as “Stalinist” and calling for it to be replaced. Will you order your Shadow Ministers to resign from the Cornerstone Group?

I know that you have enough trouble worrying about your hardline European allies without having to worry about your American allies and your own MPs as well.  However, by taking these steps you could begin to reassure the British people that your colleagues’ commitment to the NHS is not just skin deep.

With best wishes,