|“Integrating underfunding with cut-backs and privatisation” – Our response to metro mayor Andy Burnham
A recent statement by Andy Burnham that hospital cut-backs programme Healthier Together was “at the wrong end of the telescope” and “didn’t look at integration” of health and social care, has been criticised by local campaign group Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public. Spokesperson Hugh Caffrey said:
Andy could have shone a spotlight on the £1bn cut-backs in our local healthcare, of which ‘Healthier Together’ is one, or the £1bn shortfall in funding estimated by his Labour colleagues in the ‘devolved’ NHS structure, or the up to 25% of NHS contracts going to non-NHS bodies in some Greater Manchester boroughs.
Instead he’s now having doubts about the wisdom of removing emergency surgery from a majority of Greater Manchester’s hospitals. The only way that this isn’t “too little too late” is if Andy uses his political authority to demand Healthier Together is scrapped, the cuts plans reversed, and the future of vital services like emergency surgery guaranteed in full at all our district hospitals.
The multi-£billion shortfall in funding for Greater Manchester’s health and social care is an existential threat to the sick of today and tomorrow. Andy talks about pointing telescopes at problems, but you shouldn’t need a looking glass to see a crisis of this size coming!
We don’t need pipedreams about integrating the crisis of NHS under-funding with the crisis of cash-starved, sold-off social care. What we need is a full renationalisation of our NHS, the return of social care to local authority ownership, and full funding to bring both right up to scratch.
Notes to editors
Hugh Caffrey can be contacted for comment on firstname.lastname@example.org
GM KONP are online at https://keepournhspublicgmcr.com/
The article referred to follows below
Burnham: Reconfiguration took focus ‘away from where it should have been’
By Lawrence Dunhill20 October 2017
Greater Manchester mayor says the Healthier Together consultation
“came at the wrong end of the telescope”
Andy Burnham believes efforts should have focused on health and social
Region has bid to be a pilot site for “full integration” between
health and social care
Andy Burnham has said health leaders in Greater Manchester should reflect
on the much heralded reconfiguration of hospital services in the region,
saying it “took time, energy and focus away from where it should have
In an interview with HSJ, the region’s mayor said the Healthier Together
consultation “came at the wrong end of the telescope” and efforts should
have focused on health and social care integration.
Although the Healthier Together process included workstreams on primary
and community care, the public debate and much of the senior leader
involvement was dominated by the controversial plans to consolidate
emergency general surgery at four hospitals.
Engagement around the project started in 2013, with a final decision made
in July 2015. The eventual unanimous decision by commissioners and
subsequent failure of a judicial review was hailed within the NHS as a
major success for the Greater Manchester health economy, and a boost to
the region’s devolution programme.
More than two years later, the changes are still to be implemented,
however funding has been secured and business cases agreed.
Mr Burnham, who was shadow health secretary and Leigh MP in this period,
did not oppose the plans during the consultation and agreed there was a
case for change.
But he told HSJ: “People need to reflect on why Healthier Together was so
problematic. I think what happened was it went for quite a high end, quite
narrow focus, which was emergency surgery affecting quite a small group.
“It didn’t really look at the whole question around integration. It almost
came at the wrong end of the telescope, I think. It took a lot of time,
energy and focus away from where it should have been.
“My view would be: don’t do a traditional thing [such as how to close or
consolidate services] that the health service obsesses on, go for the big
Mr Burnham has called for social care to be fully integrated with the NHS
for several years, and he said formal proposals around this have been
submitted to the government as part of the budget process.
The submission calls for Greater Manchester to be a pilot area for the
reform of social care funding, to make it free at the point of delivery
and funded through a form of wealth levy.
However, Mr Burnham said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that Westminster
won’t solve this. My argument to the government in this budget is to come
at it from a different angle. Having raised social care in the general
election campaign, you can’t just drop it now and say ‘that was too
difficult we’ll forget about that’.
“Come at it in a different way by using the opportunity that Greater
Manchester provides to see if we can pioneer a new way of doing things.
“Everyone can talk the talk about integration as much as we like and we
can do bits of structural change here and there [but] no one will have a
vested interest to make it real.
“What I’m absolutely clear on is moving to a world where social care is
funded on the NHS principle.”
The submission also calls for the region’s transformation fund, which is
worth £450m over five years, to be extended.
Although some progress has been made to better integrate services in the
region, in boroughs such as Salford, the current legislation and tax laws
have prevented the type of full integration Mr Burnham would like to see.
The idea of a new wealth or inheritance tax – raising money from people’s
property assets – has been called a “death tax” by some national
The Conservative election manifesto proposed people should be responsible
for paying for their own care by using their property wealth – but with a
£100,000 “floor” beyond which their assets are protected. However, this
was heavily criticised and the party subsequently sought to insert further