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Labour promises more nurse recruitment from September 2015

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told health workers at Unison's annual health conference about his five-point plan for rebuilding the NHS

A ‘home-grown’ generation of nurses will begin to be recruited from September under a Labour government, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said.

Addressing health workers at Unison’s annual health conference in Liverpool this morning, Mr Burnham set out his five-point plan for ‘rebuilding’ the NHS if Labour wins the general election on May 7.

He said he wants to develop young people’s confidence in the NHS so that they consider a career in the NHS as the future generation of health and social care workers. He reinforced the Labour Party’s commitment to recruiting an additional 20,000 nurses if elected.

‘I want this to be a home-grown generation,’ he said. ‘I want the message to go out to young people that this is your chance to work in health and social care. I want fast-track apprenticeships for people who feel they have been forgotten so they can see a way for them into health and social care.

‘From this September, we will increase training places for nurses and midwives. We will begin to recruit that new generation.’

He added that boosting staffing, including nursing numbers, is another top priority in his five-point plan, in a bid to ‘put the NHS back on its feet and get the right staffing on its wards’.

He told nurses and other healthcare professionals that they will protect unsocial hours payments at all times, adding that the Labour Party believes the only way to achieve a seven-day NHS is by respecting the workforce and paying them for the extra shifts they work.

‘We will not create a seven-day week in the NHS on the backs of NHS staff,’ he said.

Mr Burnham added that a Labour government would make ‘no attempts to introduce regional pay to the NHS by the back door.’

‘I affirm my commitment to national terms and conditions and to Agenda for Change,’ he said.

Another aspect of his plan for restoring the NHS after what he described as five years of ‘broken promises’ and cuts made by the Conservative-led government, is the creation of a bill to repeal the ‘poisonous’ Health and Social Care Act. This will restore the values of the NHS, emphasising collaboration over competition, he said.

Lastly, Mr Burnham wants to give NHS staff ‘hope’ to help turn the NHS around, saying: ‘Staff have been working flat out day after day and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.’

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