Burnham tells managers 'don't show my expenses to BMA'

New health secretary Andy Burnham has called for PCTs to invest their surpluses in preventative health care to save money in the long term.

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

When pressed after his first address as health secretary, Mr Burnham could not guarantee real-term growth would continue beyond 2011, but conceded that ‘the NHS is not immune to what’s happening in the wider world’.

He announced that the top performing PCTs in England would be given greater autonomy and freedom from the DoH and SHAs, and management would have the power to advise or take over failing PCTs.

Mr Burnham committed to scrapping targets from the NHS but said the major targets, like 18-week referral times, would become minimum standards.

His jocular speech at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Liverpool yesterday went down well with delegates, with Mr Burnham telling his former employers in NHS management: ‘please don’t show my expenses to the BMA.’

Reducing health inequalities and promoting healthy lifestyles were a personal passion of his, said Mr Burnham.

‘We cannot underestimate the importance of preventing disease.  It is estimated that if PCTs improve their performance on key health outcomes such as smoking, alcohol, cardio vascular disease mortality, diabetes and stroke over the next five years this could result in a 10-15% reduction in health inequalities,’ he said.

Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb said that Mr Burnham did not realise the urgency of the funding shortfall approaching and warned the government was ‘sleepwalking into a funding crisis’.

Mr Lamb would scrap the National Programme for IT and would focus the QOF on preventing diseases rather than treating them.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus