Labour leader Ed Miliband has said his party will seek to create an integrated healthcare system if it wins power in 2015.
In his speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton this afternoon, Mr Miliband recalled the 1945 Labour government’s creation of the NHS at a time of austerity, making the point that financial constraints should not limit ambition.
He said: “I want the next Labour government to do the same, even in tough times, to raise our sights about what the health service can achieve, bringing together physical health, mental health, and the care needs of the elderly: a true integrated National Health Service. That’s the business of the future.” It is understood the reference to care for the elderly refers to social care.
HSJ revealed shadow health secretary Andy Burnham’s ambition to create an integrated health service in January this year. The party set up a commission to look into creating an integrated system, including Mr Burnham’s proposal for making councils responsible for commissioning £93 billion health and social care, which is due to report soon.
Mr Miliband also addressed what he described as the government’s recent “change of tune” on the NHS, from praising it when they took power to recently criticising the quality of care.
He said: “The reason David Cameron is running down the NHS is they have come to a realisation the health service is getting worse on their watch and they’re desperately thrashing around trying to find someone else to blame [so they] blame the doctors, blame the nurses.”
His comments were met with a standing ovation from delegates.