Labour will work with the government to reform NHS commissioning but only if the Health Bill is scrapped.
The new Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has written to the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, warning the NHS is now in the “danger zone” as he has “failed to build a consensus around his plans”.
Burnham said it is time to “stop digging” and “change course” if patient care is to be protected.
He has pledged his commitment to work alongside the government to develop “true clinician-led commissioning in every locality in England” in return for the withdrawal of the Bill.
Labour believes that such reforms do not need legislation, and could be implemented quickly.
“This approach offers a way ahead that everybody could unite behind,” said Burnham.
“It would bring much-needed stability and would help the NHS save money on the costs of re-organisation. People would be encouraged to see the main parties setting aside differences and working together for the good of the NHS.
“The Health Secretary has left the NHS demoralised and destabilised. If he tries to plough on regardless, he risks causing serious damage to patient care.
“This is a genuine offer and I hope he will accept it. But make no mistake – we will fight the government every step of the way if it tries to force these dangerous reforms on the NHS. They will unpick the fabric of the NHS and it will never be the same again.”
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“Mr Burnham did nothing to make the NHS more effective or efficient while Labour was in power for over a decade and allowed the NHS to get into the state it has become – a service that is often inappropriately used and often abused. It needs a radical overhall and at least the Conservative government has taken on that challenge. I for one is in favour of the changes having worked in the health service for many years recognised that we within it have a vested interest and should look outside of this interest and see ourselves as patients within the service. This I am sure would allow us to give the changes a chance which as I see it can reap benefits for the health of all of us. I would suggest to Andy Burnham to stop attempting to score brownie points and recap on the past which would allow him to see the need for the changes to provide an effective evidence based medical service and healthy future for us all” – V Henry, London
“STOP THE BILL and start again” – Wendy Ribbands
“This makes absolute sense. Working together for the good of the NHS would be a new approach from the present situation whereby the NHS is used as a political tool” – Susan Smith, Sussex
“Sounds like a way forward to true reform without the upheaval and cost of yet another reorganisation. Would also return confidence and support of the public and patients who rather than feeling excluded from decisions “about me” would feel included” – S O’Donnell, Kent