Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, has said Labour will support carers and the elderly if elected, in a speech at the party's annual conference.
In the speech, Mr Burnham said: 'I can announce today a big change in the way the NHS supports carers so they can keep going. No longer invisible but at the very centre of this new service. So today we announce new support for carers: protected funding for carer's breaks; the right to ask for an annual health check; help with hospital car parking for carers.' He also emphasised the importance of keeping the elderly out of hospitals, saying: 'No longer should frail or vulnerable people be shunted around the system, from ambulance to A&E to noisy ward. Instead, [an integrated health and social care] team will come to you. Its goal will be to keep you in your own home, safe and well.'
Mr Burnham also pledged to repeal the Health and Social Care Act. He called the act 'toxic', and went on to say: 'We will ask hospitals to collaborate once again and reinstate the NHS as our preferred provider. The public NHS, protected with Labour. Not for sale. Not now, not ever.'
He also repeated Ed Miliband's pledge to hire 20,000 more nurses.
However, Mr Burnham's speech contained few practical details on how the plans would be implemented, instead relying on anti-coalition rhetoric and emotional appeals relying on the public's relationship with the NHS. Skepticism over Labour's plans for the NHS has emerged. Media reports focused on whether proposals to create a £2.5 billion fund to hire more nurses and other allied professionals will be feasible. It has been questioned whether a crackdown on tax avoidance and a proposed 'mansion tax' on properties worth more than £2 million could generate enough revenue to fund these proposals.
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