Andy Burnham to outline a new partnership for the NHS and voluntary sector

In a keynote speech to the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), shadow Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP will today outline a new role for charities and social enterprises in any future Labour-run NHS.

Mr Burnham will criticize the Government for neglecting the voluntary sector and citizens’ needs. He will say ‘the time has come to re-set the NHS for the 21st Century as a service for the whole person.’ At the centre of ‘whole-person care’, Mr Burnham will say, lies the voluntary sector. ‘For too long, informal carers have been taken for granted and invisible to the system. The voluntary sector has been left to work in isolation from the NHS, filling in the gaps.’

Mr Burnham will use the speech to articulate a Labour vision for public service reform, which departs from large, block contracts to outsourced providers. “The NHS must move away from its approach of offering one-off, short-term contracts to forming long-term trusted partnerships, with the voluntary sector’s role clearly set out.”

Mr Burnham will argue that the NHS must not be shy of radical reform and working with the voluntary sector.  ‘The demands of the 21st century mean that the NHS will not succeed if it tries to go it alone. … In the voluntary sector, it has a partner that shares its people-not-profits ethos.’

In a speech at the same conference, ACEVO Chief Executive Sir Stephen Bubb, who in 2011 led the Coalition Government’s review of Competition in the NHS, will argue that strong political leadership is necessary to ensure that NHS reform works for citizens rather than large private sector contractors:

“Citizens should always have the opportunity to choose community-based approaches over hospital-based provision. ‘Citizens’ rights’ and their ‘right to challenge’ public sector monopolies must be enshrined in legislation. Such rights are already part of the Government’s rhetoric, but after a promising start they have fallen by the wayside.”

Sir Stephen will welcome Labour’s Independent Oldham Commission on Health and Care but at the same time will warn that real reform must follow.

“Successive governments have failed to understand commissioning, and have failed create a system in which a diversity of health providers can flourish. The impact on our hospitals continues to be grave.”

“Within two years half of all hospitals may be in deficit. Meanwhile over 40% of our population with long term conditions account for 70% of the entire NHS budget. The budget for such conditions continues to grow, as do the number of us living longer. The politician that leads on an agenda which enjoins the voluntary sector with the NHS will hold the key to saving our NHS.”


Click here to read Third Sector Magazine’s coverage of ACEVO’s Health and Social Care Conference or read Civil Society Magazine’s coverage here.


Notes to Editors

1. The ACEVO Health and Social Care Conference is one of ACEVO’s three flagship conferences, alongside its Gathering of Social Leaders (7 May 2014) and the November Annual Conference (22 November 2014). This year’s will take place at Dexter House, Central London and will feature speeches by Duncan Selbie (Chief Executive, Public Health England), David Behan (Chief Executive, CQC), Sandie Keene (President of ADASS), and Prof Sir Bruce Keogh (Medical Director, NHS England), alongside the keynote by Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP (at 13:30) and the response by Sir Stephen Bubb (14:00).

2. Sir Stephen Bubb’s remarks on the Government’s failure to persist with competition reform in public services and to enshrine  citizens’ rights in their public services reforms were recently covered by the Financial Times. The Prime Minister David Cameron responded on these matters to Sir Stephen personally.

3. ACEVO is the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the voice of the UK’s civil society leaders. It supports, brings together and represents the chief executives of the country’s largest charities and social enterprises.

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