Alarm bells greet Andy Burnham mayor candidacy

SALFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 19: Shadow Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Leigh Andy Burnham poses for a portrait as he launches his bid to become Mayor of Greater Manchester at The Lowry on May 19, 2016 in Salford, England. Andy Burnham will be competing against interim mayor and elected police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd and Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South. The election for the first mayor of Greater Manchester will take place in May 2017. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for the Greater Manchester’s first mayoral election next May.

The move will trigger alarm bells among the region’s care home operators following Mr Burnham’s pledge to return care home provision to the NHS if elected.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Mr Burnham said: “We have the opportunity to build in Greater Manchester the country’s first fully integrated national health and care service. We would bring social care into the NHS and out of the hands of the private sector.”

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In a speech eight months ahead of the General Election that Labour lost, Mr Burnham promised an incoming Labour Government would ask hospital trusts and other NHS bodies to evolve into NHS integrated care organisations, working from home to hospital to coordinate physical, mental and social care.

He has previously attacked care home operators for making “profits off the backs of the most vulnerable”.

The former health secretary is odds-on to win next year’s contest with only one council controlled by the Conservatives in the area.

Mr Burnham believes shifting responsibility and budgets for social care to NHS Trusts will help relieve bed blocking by older vulnerable people in NHS hospitals.

Private sector operators say they can alleviate bed blocking much more cheaply than publicly funded hospitals, a view backed by independent think-tank Respublica in a report published last year.

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