Andy Burnham has pledged to introduce a nursing bursary in Greater Manchester as part of his bid to become the city’s next mayor.
In a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Burnam said, “It makes no sense whatsoever to scrap the Nursing Bursary when our hospitals are already in the grip of private staffing agencies.”
The shadow home secretary then unveiled plans for a grant for nursing students, on the condition that they work in the Greater Manchester NHS for at least five years after graduating.
The grant would be funded by reducing spending on agency and temporary staff.
Following the devolution deal with Greater Manchester, NHS services will become the responsibility of the mayor.
However, Burnham is demanding the health secretary to “clear up its own mess” before this happens.
He said: “Jeremy Hunt is handing over an NHS to Greater Manchester in increasing crisis,” Burnham said,
“Far from fixing the roof of our NHS, they have put a £100 million hole in it. That is the reality behind the Tory ‘Northern Powerhouse’ rhetoric.
“Hunt’s policies are making matters even worse, not better.”
He added: “If I am elected Mayor, I will set the NHS in Greater Manchester on a different path to the rest of Tory England.
“I will roll back the privatisation of services, train more home-grown staff and free our hospitals from this vice-like grip of private staffing agencies.
“The Government has a moral responsibility to clear up its own mess before handing over responsibility for the NHS.
“If they won’t tackle the staffing crisis, then I will not let them stand in our way and tie our hands.
“I have a clear plan to restore the fortunes of the NHS in Greater Manchester. I want to build here the country’s first National Health and Care Service by bringing social care out of the private sector and in to the NHS.
“I will show that only the Party, which created the NHS in the last century can be trusted to rebuild it for this.”