Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, in a speech to Labour’s Annual Conference 2014 in Manchester, said:
Conference I’ve got a question for you.
Hands up how many of you would walk 300 miles to save the NHS?
Stand up if you actually have?
Leading from the front, speaking for millions – Conference, please show your appreciation for the Darlo mums and the People’s March for the NHS. We have arrived at a big moment.
The party that created the NHS in the last century today sets out a plan to secure it in this. A rescue plan for a shattered service.
But more than that. A vision for a 21st century NHS there when you need it, personal to you and your family, with time to care. A national health and care service based on people before profits.
Today we place that proud Labour plan at the centre of our election campaign.
And, thanks to Ed’s great speech, we have the money to back it up.
A plan worth voting for, proof that all parties are not the same, giving you a real choice over the future of your NHS.
Because it certainly didn’t happen last time.
Remember that solemn promise of “no top-down reorganisation”?
It was a bare-faced lie.
Days into office, the Tories set about dismantling your NHS.
And the plan that dared not speak its name before the last election is now plain for all to see: run it down, break it up, sell it off.
So today we serve notice on Cameron and Clegg: Thursday 7th May 2015 – your day of reckoning on the NHS.
A reckoning for trashing the public’s most prized asset without their permission.
And a reckoning for a ruinous reorganisation that has dragged it down and left it on the brink.
A winter crisis in A&E now a spring, summer and autumn crisis too.
Over three million people on NHS waiting lists.
Families waiting longer for cancer treatment to start – and the national cancer target missed for the very first time.
The NHS can’t take five more years of Cameron.
I could go on about the damage he’s done.
But let’s be honest – would that help people worried about where the NHS is heading and wanting real answers?
I know there will be families and carers out there watching us today wondering whether anyone really understands what their life is like.
Soldiering on from one day to the next, feeling invisible and taken for granted, ringing the surgery early in the morning but unable to get through, telling the same story to everyone who comes through the door.
You feel no one listens – and no wonder.
So that’s why I’m going to do something different today.
I want to speak directly to you.
And to the parents of children with disabilities, for whom life feels like one long battle and who fret endlessly about what would happen to your son and daughter if you weren’t around to fight.
To the millions of you who face the daily worry and stress of arranging mum or dad’s care whilst trying to hold down a job.
And, most of all, to those of you who might be watching this alone at home fearing what the future might hold.
My message is simple: Labour is with you; your worries are ours; we know things can be better than they are; we want an NHS that takes your worries away; and we can achieve it if we do something bold.
The time has come for this party to complete Nye Bevan’s vision and bring social care in to the NHS.
That allows us to rebuild our NHS around you and your family.
No longer ringing the council for this, the NHS for that.
But one service, one team, one person to call.
An NHS for the whole person, an NHS for carers, an NHS personal to you. At last, a National Health Service keeping you well, not a national sickness service picking up the pieces.
And an end, once and for all, to the scandal that is care of older and vulnerable people in England in 2014.
I ask you this: how much longer will we say that people who are so frail that they need help with getting up, washing and eating, and who suffer from loneliness and isolation, are only worth a slap-dash 15 minute visit?
How much longer will society send out the message to young people looking after someone else’s mum, dad, brother or sister that it is the lowest form of work, lower than the minimum wage because it doesn’t pay the travel time between the 15 minute visits?
How much longer will we see these shameful scenes from care homes on our TV screens of people being shouted at or abused and not say enough is enough?
And for how much longer, in this the century of the ageing society, will we allow a care system in England to be run as a race to the bottom, making profits off the backs of our most vulnerable?
If this party is about anything, then surely it is about ending that.
I want you to understand why I feel like this.
About ten years ago, I saw my own mum ground down and worn out by the battle to get decent care for my gran.
She was in a nursing home where corners were often cut and where it was hard to get GPs to visit. The decent people who worked there were let down by the anonymous owners who filled it with untrained, temporary staff.
My gran’s things often went missing and we had got used to that.
But I will never forget the day when we walked in to see her and her knuckle was red raw where her engagement ring had been ripped off.
Right there, right then – I made it my mission to end this scandal.
And the greatest sadness of all was that this so-called care cost my grandmother everything she and my granddad had worked for.
I know millions of families have been through the same or are going through it now.
People look to Labour to change these things and that is what we will do. You know the Tories will never do it. They put profits before people – always – it’s in their DNA.
Their answer is to let the market that has ripped through social care carry on ripping through the NHS.
Conference, we will do the precise opposite.
I am clearer about this than anything in my life – the market is not the answer to 21st century health and care.
People out there know a minimum wage, zero hours approach will never secure the care they want for their mum and dad.
So our ten year plan for the NHS is founded on people before profits.
We will free the NHS from Cameron’s market and, yes, repeal his toxic Health and Social Care Act.
We will ask hospitals to collaborate once again and reinstate the NHS as our preferred provider.
The public NHS, protected with Labour. Not for sale. Not now, not ever.
Cemented at the core of every community so that it can then begin the job of bringing social care in and lifting it up. Building a culture of respect for all people who care and ending the indignity of flying 15 minute visits.
Caring no longer a dead-end job but part of one workforce working to NHS standards.
But there is a reason why we give the public NHS such stability.
It is so that we can ask it to embrace radical change in the way it provides services to you and your family.
We will ask hospital trusts and other NHS bodies to evolve into NHS integrated care organisations, working from home to hospital coordinating all care – physical, mental and social.
Why? Because 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.
But, more, it’s not right for you.
The ever-increasing hospitalisation of older people is no answer to the ageing society.
Bringing social care in doesn’t add to the financial burden.
It is the key to unlocking the money. But it will mean change and you need to know what that means for you.
Just as Nye Bevan wrote to every household to introduce his new NHS, so I will write again in 2015 to explain what people can expect from our national health and care service.
And this is what I will say for any family caring for someone with long-term needs, one team around you.
No longer should frail or vulnerable people be shunted around the system, from ambulance to A&E to noisy ward. Instead, this team will come to you. Its goal will be to keep you in your own home, safe and well.
You and your carers will have one person to call to get help so no longer telling the same story over and over again.
You will have a care plan personal to you and your family.
If you and your carers get what you really need from the start, then it’s more likely to work. Building the NHS around you will need a new generation of NHS staff, as Ed said yesterday.
So we will recruit new teams of home care workers, physios, OTs, nurses, midwives with GPs at the centre.
And will we have mental health nurses and therapists at the heart of this team, no longer the poor relation on the fringes of the system but making parity a reality.
And to make sure this investment is not creamed off by others, we will look at how we can ensure private health providers contribute their fair share towards the cost of training.
But, with the best will in the world, the NHS won’t be able to do it all.
That is why I can announce today a big change in the way the NHS supports carers so they can keep going.
No longer invisible but at the very centre of this new service.
So today we announce new support for carers: protected funding for carer’s breaks; the right to ask for an annual health check; help with hospital car parking for carers; and we will go further.
We will give all families the right to care in their home, if they want it.
A national health and care service truly there from cradle to grave – from a new right to have a home-birth and a right to be in your own home at the end of your life, surrounded by the people you love, with your care provided on the NHS and no worry about its cost – starting with those who are terminally ill with the greatest care needs.
These are the things that matter and this is about an NHS there for you at the most important moments in life.
This is what people want and this is what becomes possible with our plan.
True whole person care – simply not possible in Cameron’s fragmented, privatised, demoralised service.
Make no mistake – this coming election is a battle for the soul of the NHS. The fight of our lives.
Now we must walk 300 miles for the NHS to every doorstep in the land. With hope. With pride. With passion. With a plan you can believe in. But, in the end, this is about more than us. This is about you.
Your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren.
It’s about whether an NHS will still be there for them in their hour of need as it has been for you.
Don’t regret it when it’s gone. Join the fight for it now.
So I make this appeal to you.
Help the party that founded the NHS give it a new beginning.
Help us make it the service we all want it to be.
An NHS that puts people before profit.
An NHS that cares for the carers.
An NHS there for your mum and dad.
An NHS with time to care.