Labour to turn hospitals into integrated care organisations employing GPs

All hospitals in England would be transformed into integrated care organisations employing salaried GPs under a Labour government.

Andy Burnham: integrated care organisations plan (Photo: Charlie MacDonald)
Andy Burnham: integrated care organisations plan (Photo: Charlie MacDonald)

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said on Tuesday at a fringe event at Labour’s conference in Manchester that he would ask every hospital to ‘grow into an integrated care organisation’ receiving a ‘year of care tariff’ and expanding into out-of-hospital services. The new organisations would be ‘accountable’, giving families ‘one person to call’, he said.

On Monday Mr Burnham said integrated organisations would employ salaried GPs at the centre of a multidisciplinary team caring for patients with ongoing needs.

He does not want to sweep away independent contractor status, he told an RCGP event, seeking to reassure GP leaders. Working under the new integrated organisations would be voluntary.

8,000 new GPs

Labour leader Ed Miliband announced a new £2.5bn NHS Time To Care Fund would be used to employ 8,000 new GPs.

Mr Burnham said he would announce further details of his integrated care organisations proposals in his speech to conference on Wednesday morning, where he will outline plans to create a single health and social care service.

‘What I will announce is that we are going to ask every hospital organisation in the country to grow into an integrated care organisation, receiving that year-of-care tariff and then growing out of the hospital into the community, into people’s homes. End-to-end journey for the whole person, physical, mental, social. Yes, working in partnership with other organisations, not doing it all themselves.’

Integrated health and social care

Mr Burnham said Labour would integrate health and care budgets and commissioning under the control of local councils through health and wellbeing boards.

Consolidated funding at a local level to create a ‘year-of-care tariff’ covering all of a person’s needs, Mr Burnham said, would switch the financial incentives in the system from treating people in hospital to incentivise supporting them at home.

A recent GP magazine poll found many GPs backed integration with hospitals, but not if the integration was led by foundation trust hospitals.

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