The King's Fund responds to the Shadow Secretary of State for Health’s speech at the Labour Party Conference

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Responding to the Shadow Secretary of State for Health’s speech at the Labour Party Conference, Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘Andy Burnham has outlined a vision for the future of health and social care which accentuates the differences between the Labour Party and the government on the NHS. He is right to stress the need for fundamental change in health and social care services. Our own work has made the case for radical changes to ensure the NHS is fit to meet the challenges of the future as the population ages and health needs change.

‘This includes moving care closer to people’s homes and re-thinking the role of hospitals which must change to improve the quality of specialist services and better meet the needs of older patients. We also welcome his emphasis on delivering integrated care – the challenge now is to move integrated care from the policy arena and make it happen across the country at scale and pace.

‘However, while the long term vision is ambitious, the details of Labour’s plans are sketchy. A number of questions will need to be answered in the policy review announced today. For example, it is not clear how local authorities could take on the role of commissioning health care without further structural upheaval. And despite the Shadow Chancellor’s pledge earlier in the week, it is not clear how Labour would ensure adequate funding for social care.’

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