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Labour Conference: Andy Burnham pledges to quash NHS privatisation

Written on:October 4, 2023
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Involvement of the market to ‘streamline’ the NHS has been a theme of UK politics

The Labour Conference 2012 has witnessed Andy Burnham pledging to overturn the quick privatisation of NHS hospitals in England if Labour wins the 2015 UK elections. The Shadow Health Secretary has accused the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition of risking the decimation of the NHS character that PM David Cameron had initially vowed to safeguard.

The Andy Burnham speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester consisted of a warning that some NHS hospitals were intending to double the number of private patients they treat under new liberties.

The Labour Party has, however, not overruled all competition to present NHS services. Labour fears that the extent and speed of NHS privatisation under the Coalition imperils the foundations and identity of the NHS, which is an integral component of the contemporary British culture.

Andy Burnham speechified at the Labour Party Conference that the new liberty for hospitals to acquire 49% of their proceeds from private work would scar the personality and culture of the NHS, thereby transporting it nearer to an American health model.

Interestingly, the 2010 Labour Party manifesto pledged that the patients would possess the right to go private if they were still waiting for an operation at 18 weeks. The manifesto also promised an active role for the independent sector in remedying NHS patients.

Andy Burnham asserted at the Labour Conference that the establishment of a complete market in the health sector is intolerable. He expressed his conviction that doctors shouldn’t be pitted against doctors and hospitals shouldn’t work against each other. Patient welfare must be positioned before the pursuit of profits.

The Labour leader also demanded stronger collaboration between the NHS and local authorities to enhance care for the aged people.

The former Labour PM, Tony Blair, employed the market to ‘streamline’ the NHS by initiating the ‘patient choice initiative.’ This permitted patients to elect non-emergency hospital care from a ratified catalogue of providers, including private sector providers.

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