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Burnham promises Labour will repeal health reforms ‘in first Queen’s Speech’

Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has promised that the party will repeal the Health and Social Care Act in ‘the first Queen’s Speech’ if elected.

In his keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton today, Mr Burnham said that he was ‘not neutral’ about who provides NHS services and that he would roll back the use of Any Qualified Provider.

Also, in an attack against the recent rhetoric of the Department of Health and the health secretary, he accused the Government of ‘spinning’ against its own health service.

The speech follows Ed Miliband’s yesterday who said the coalition had blamed doctors for the A&E crisis for political reasons and promised Labour would ‘save the NHS yet again’ if they are elected in 2015.

Pulse revealed today that GP commissioners have put three quarters of all new contracts out to competition since taking over in April, potentially opening up huge swathes of the health service to take-over by the private sector.

Mr Burnham said that if he was made health secretary he would halt the move to use to the market to make procurement decisions.

He said: ‘I am not neutral about who provides NHS services. I will never see the NHS as an empty blue-and-white brand to be used by any qualified provider.

‘I believe in the public NHS and what it represents. I know that people who work in it give more of themselves because it’s based on people not profits.

‘The Health & Social Care Act 2012 has placed the NHS on a fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation. It has got to go - and it will. In the first Queen’s Speech of the next Labour Government, we will repeal the Act.’

He echoed his leaders comments the previous day, saying that the Conservative party was undermining the NHS in its attacks on ‘troubled hospitals’.

He said: ‘The Tories exploit failings to undermine the NHS itself. What kind of Government asks for a report on troubled hospitals only to deliberately exaggerate the findings? What kind of Government spins against the NHS it is supposed to be responsible for? What kind of people scare patients unnecessarily and denigrate staff in struggling hospitals just to pursue their own political agenda?’