Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has pledged to work with clinical commissioning groups and health boards to ensure the NHS integrates health and social care in the future.

Speaking at the Health+Care Commissioning Conference [12 June] Mr Burnham said the NHS needs to refocus and treat the whole person by combining physical, mental and social health issues.

One of the driving influences according to the Shadow Health Secretary was his personal frustrations dealing with the current system when his grandmother needed care. 

Century of the ageing population

“The 21st Century will become known as 'the century of the ageing population’,” Mr Burnham said.

“The current coalition position of cutting social care, is creating a false economy as the problem is simply pushed on to the NHS and will ultimately affect everyone in the UK.”

The challenge of dealing with an ageing population was a key theme with speakers throughout the day, including State dementia Tsar Professor Alistair Burns, Minister of State Norman Lamb MP and the ECCA’s Martin Green.

Real appetite to turn thoughts into actions

Conference Director Ralph Collett added: “Integration has been mentioned countless times throughout the presentations by clinicians and social care leaders alike and I sense a real appetite to turn thoughts into actions.”

The talk concluded the first day of Health+Care 2013. The conference continues today [13 June] with an address from Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of the NHS Clinical Commissioners and speeches from former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell and Chair of the SCIE Andrea Sutcliffe.

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