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Editor's blog Wednesday 30 September 2009: Andy Burnham speech at Labour's conference

So that was Andy Burnham's conference speech. Well, nobody will be hassling him about his leadership ambitions.

In fairness, he was not left much room by Brown's announcements on cancer diagnostics and the new National Care Service (the unravellingfunding of which is well-covered here by HSJ's Sally Gainsbury).

Nonetheless, it was insubstantial stuff. What was not already announced? A free car parking voucher for in-patients. (Let's hope they don't use it for their own cars to drive themselves in, otherwise parking will be a nightmare for the poor staff.)

Other than that, it is all public domain: Labour as "the one and only party of the NHS"; GP practice boundaries to be abolished; and more emphasis on prevention.

Burnham had one intriguing and expensive-looking line: "Nor am I proud of a system where the majority of care workers - who do some of society's most crucial jobs - earn only around the national minimum wage".

Add this to the above-mentioned uncertainties on cost of the National Care Service and Brown's pledge yesterday that the minimum  wage will rise in each of the coming five years if Labour win, and you have a new, fiscally challenging dynamic.

It doesn't look good.