Burnham suggests Labour could ditch GP independent contractor status

Labour could scrap GPs' independent contractor status under plans to move towards a 'whole person' integrated health and social care system, the shadow health minister has suggested.

Andy Burnham: integration plans (Photo: Alex Deverill)
Andy Burnham: integration plans (Photo: Alex Deverill)

Speaking at the NHS confederation conference, Andy Burnham said his vision for the future of the NHS would see doctors becoming less specialised and not ‘pigeon-holed as primary care or secondary care doctors’.

He added that this could have implications for GPs' current independent contractor status.

He said: ‘This call for integration will only offer a proper solution if we embrace it fully rather than by half measures. There's no point just dipping your toe.

‘We are talking about a journey to full integration where we commission for one person and all the mental, physical and social care they need. This is full personalisation of care in a way the current silo services could never achieve.

‘The time has come to move on from some of the old divides such as GPs vs. the hospital. We’ve been living in a world too long where if one of those wins the other loses.’

He added that, although Labour would not structurally reorganise the NHS, it planned to ‘reset’ the way it worked.

‘We need to break down the barriers between health services. I will work with the organisations I inherit, I will just give them a new job to do, and that is whole person care,’ he said.

As part of the reform, Mr Burnham said a leaflet would be sent to every home in the country outlining how they will be cared for under the new changes to the NHS.

He also criticised the coalition government for not mentioning the NHS at all in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, saying it was ‘revealing’ that the government omitted this on the same day as the conference warned of the ‘perilous’ future the NHS faces.

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