Exclusive video: Labour sets out plans for primary care

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has urged GP commissioners not to 'feel disheartened' after unveiling proposals to limit CCGs to an advisory role if the party wins the next general election.

Andy Burnham: break divide between primary and secondary care
Andy Burnham: break divide between primary and secondary care

In a landmark speech sketching out Labour policy on the NHS, Mr Burnham said health and wellbeing boards could be handed greater power, with CCGs acting in an advisory capacity.

Plans set out in the speech would also see health and social care budgets pooled, loosening CCGs' control over the £60bn in NHS funding they will manage from April this year.

In an exclusive interview with GPonline.com, the former health secretary made clear that the role of the GP would only change if that is what was called for locally. But he called for people with long-term conditions to be managed in primary care and that GPs could take a more active role in helping keep people out of hospitals.

Mr Burnham talked about breaking the divide between primary and secondary care and said the payment by results funding system may have to be changed to allow services to move out of hospitals.

In the speech, he said: ‘It could see GPs working differently, as we can see in Torbay, leading teams of others professionals, physios, occupational therapists, district nurses – managing the care of the at-risk older population.’

He reiterated his promise to repeal the Health and Social Care Act but said he would retain CCGs and health and wellbeing boards, despite changing their roles.

The party will consult on its health policy plans at public events to be held across England from February to June.

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