2012 was busy, exciting,  frustrating and often difficult for the Socialist Health Association.  Our decision to re-engineer our website was largely implemented during the year, but it overlapped with the immensely prolonged campaign against the Health and Social Care Bill.  Our activity shifted away from the policy oriented conferences we had organised in the past towards campaigning events.  There was much more activity and our profile was considerably raised.  Our online activity began to move away from Facebook and on to Twitter.

More of our members noticed and cared about what we were saying and doing, and some complained loudly when they thought were doing the wrong thing.  Non-members also complained.  The director found himself having to defend the association’s policy on homeopathy – which we haven’t discussed since 1984.  We also found ourself on the receiving end of a threatening letter from a solicitor for misusing the trade marks of the Health Lottery Limited on our website.

We have spent about two years trying to crystallise our view on markets and privatisation and we finally reached a conclusion in September.  This was expanded by Tony Beddow and Jane Roberts into a more substantial document: Improving the Health of the Nation; a policy for the NHS and its partners.

We spent a lot of time and effort working with the Labour health team, and Irwin Brown contributed a position paper Repeal and Replace Health Act 2012, which was well recieved.  Our relationship with the front bench has been very friendly and constructive.  Though the Labour Party official policy making processes did not produce anything substantial during the course of the year we found that our thinking about policy development was welcomed. We paved the way with the shadow team for policy development meetings to begin in 2013.

The most significant part of our campaigning against the Health Bill as an organisation (though many of our members were very active locally and in the media as individuals) was probably our convening of a campaign planning group, including all the national campaigning organisations and the Labour Party. Although the various players disagree about various aspects of the Government’s proposals – particularly about the culpability of the last Labour Government – we have found it very helpful to discuss the practicalities of organising campaigns.  We were encouraged by this group to develop a programme of events which we call Defending the NHS which has been well received in a wide variety of settings, as it encourages people to consider what exactly we mean by the NHS, and how ideas about it has changed over the years.

We worked closely with the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, the first trial of the NHS failure regime.

Noemi Fabri pushed us into thinking more clearly about what our organisation was really about in our discussions about the website design – territory unfamiliar to most members of Central Council.  What we decided was:

We are not a think tank. We are not a political party.
We are:
      – a place to debate a socialist way forward for the NHS
      – an organisation which develops policies that contribute to a socialist way forward for the NHS
      – a Socialist Society
      – a critical friend of the Labour Party
      – a membership organisation that needs to cater for and satisfy its membership
      – very small, but punch above our weight
 
We have a mission statement and it seems to summarise what we are about.

Performance measures

NB We decided to collect these a few years ago.  We need to consider what sort of measures are now appropriate

Membership numbers broken down by membership class

Membership

2009

2010

2011

2012

Insufficient subs

44

31

27

25

Current

573

609

642

651

reminder1

14

44

68

56

reminder2

32

55

28

38

No address

13

11

10

10

LIFE

15

12

11

11

Unison block

259

319

331

298

Unite health

54

47

49

62

Honorary

16

17

10

10

GMB

28

26

22

23

Newsletters editions published:   Socialism and Health (2)

Articles / letters published: various letters and petitions in Guardian, The NHS and Labour – after the bill on Labour List, Profile of Brian Fisher – Guardian,

Talks and appearances: 

Bradford Mind, Primary Care North, Tameside College, Exeter Labour Students, Camden Co-op Party, Cheshire West and Chester Labour Group, Save the NHS Leeds, Didsbury AUT study group, Reading Fabians, National Pensioners Convention, Netroots, Middlesborough Labour Group, HSJ Summit

Constituency Labour Parties:  Claremont (Eccles), Richmond Park, Gillingham, Fylde, Durham City, Neath, Port Talbot, Lambeth, Suffolk, Harrow West, Islington South,Camden Co-op Party, Shipley, Bingley

Website activity

  • 2012: 181,803 visits, 338,415 page views
  • 2011: Total 1,407,228 hits 51.60 GB downloaded over the year
  • 2010: Total 1,307,262 hits 41.74 GB downloaded over the year
  • 2009: Total 889,982 hits 60.49 GB downloaded over the year
  • 2008: Total 916,809 hits 30.29 GB downloaded over the year

Google page rank of 5/10 for sochealth.co.uk (5 last year)

Peak traffic is usually November

Best month  Unique visitors        Number of visits     Pages             Hits             Bandwidth

  • 2012           13,115                            17,243
  • 2011           15570                            26057                            50609         15967                   5.94 GB
  • 2010           13731                            23769                            47166         139286                 4.59 GB
  • 2009           11282                            15738                            30602         104852                7.28 GB
  • 2008           10395                            15834                            30706         97034                  3.95 GB

Social Media

Our Facebook page now has 1488 (1261 last year) fans

Our Twitter feed now has 1365 ( 243 last year) followers

Contacts in our database

contact total year

Year

Number

With Email

2003

268

262

2004

247

246

2005

432

426

2006

885

870

2007

1852

1809

2008

4666

4129

2009

5198

4730

2010

7033

6268

2011

11596

10675

2012

8711

8340

Total

40888

37755

Last year

38821

36265

 Events

date                         Event                                                  Attend   Income                     Expenditure

  • 16/01/12 Steve Harrison,  Manchester           11         £100.00                  £49.49
  • 19/01/12 West London   NHS, Ealing                7            £25.00                   £75.20
  • 20/01/12 Milton Keynes                                      22              £0.00                   £75.00
  • 04/02/12 Internal Market,     Cardiff               37             £0.00                 £257.60
  • 11/05/12 Alternative Health Policy                44          £513.00                 £574.60
  • 29/05/12 Plotting   Unite Diskus                       17               £0.00                   £73.40
  • 08/06/12 Reclaiming our NHS      Durham    40               £0.00                     £0.00
  • 09/06/12 Inequality in Scotland                       22          £376.00                 £471.40
  • 29/06/12 Benefits and health  Wmpton          13           £150.00                 £297.48
  • 15/09/12 NHS in the Community Easingtn   30                £0.00                  £186.65
  • 30/09/12 Labour Conference 2012                 50               £0.00               £1,610.90
  • 12/10/12 Integration          York                         32           £300.00                 £804.75
  • 17/11/12 Defending the NHS Pimlico               26                £0.00                       £0.00
  • 30/11/12 NHS for beginners   B’ham                 15                 £0.00                  £117.70

Total                                                                                                         366       £1,464.00           £4,594.17

Martin Rathfelder

Director

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