LABOUR CONFERENCE: Andy Burnham hails NHS ‘cradle to grave’ heritage promising people the right to die in their own homes

Labour's Andy Burnham, Shadow secretary of State for Health. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Labour's Andy Burnham, Shadow secretary of State for Health. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Political editor Annabelle Dickson reports from the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Labour leader Ed Miliband sings the Red Flag, along with shadow cabinet members Harriet Harman (seco

Labour leader Ed Miliband sings the Red Flag, along with shadow cabinet members Harriet Harman (second right) and Angela Eagle (right). Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

People will be given the right to die in their own home under a 'cradle to grave' health service, Andy Burnham told Labour activists as the curtain fell on the party's final gathering before the next general election.

The shadow health secretary said care should be provided on the NHS, with no worry about its cost, with those who are terminally ill and with the greatest care needs at the front of the queue.

He said in the speech, which attracted a standing ovation from delegates in the conference hall, that he would bring in new teams of home care workers, physios and occupational therapists.

He also pledged to give carers better support if Labour wins next year, with funding for breaks and annual health checks.


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Mr Burnham told delegates: 'A national health and care service truly there from cradle to grave – from a new right to have a home birth and a right to be in your own home at the end of your life, surrounded by the people you love, with your care provided on the NHS and no worry about its cost – starting with those who are terminally ill with the greatest care needs.

'These are the things that matter and this is about an NHS there for you at the most important moments in life.'

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Mr Burnham said he had made it his personal mission to rebuild the NHS a decade ago, revealing a personal story from his own family's history of seeing his grandmother's knuckle left red raw when a care home worker stole her engagement ring.

He said: 'She was in a nursing home where corners were often cut and where it was hard to get GPs to visit.

'The decent people who worked there were let down by the anonymous owners who filled it with untrained, temporary staff.

'My gran's things often went missing and we had got used to that but I will never forget the day when we walked in to see her and her knuckle was red raw where her engagement ring had been ripped off.

'Right there, right then – I made it my mission to end this scandal.'

It comes after his leader Ed Miliband announced he would impose a mansion tax and new levies on cigarette companies to pay for a large recruitment in the National Health Service.

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