Labour calls for one budget across NHS and social care

Labour calls for one budget across NHS and social care

The Labour party believes the NHS and social care budgets should be merged to create one fund that will be able to better provide for the needs of an ageing population.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham says the money could then be used to provide care that spans the mental health, care and hospital sectors.

Dubbed by the party as 'whole-person care', Labour believes this proposal will improve experiences for older adults and reduce the strain on the budgets of local councils.

Mr Burnham said: "As we live longer, people's needs become a blur of physical, mental and social. It is just not possible to disaggregate them and meet them through our three separate services."

A merger of the budgets would require changes to the way funding is distributed within the healthcare system.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, has welcomed Mr Burnham's comments, insisting there is an "urgent need" for debate regarding the long-term pressures faced by the NHS.

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