The SHA should take the approach taken by its predecessor, the Socialist Medical Association, when it led the fight to create the NHS.  We need to re-establish an NHS publicly owned, publicly run and publicly accountable, funded through taxation with services provided according to need.

Of course, we recognise that there are areas of provision that are not fully publicly provided such as work carried out by opticians, pharmacists and dentists.  Also, GP practices work in such a way that they have to make a profit.  For example, as dental contracts have been tightened more dentists have moved to the private sector.  With GPs, whilst we would wish them all to be salaried and expenses paid for buildings and staff etc, this is not feasible in the short term.  However, we resist the creation of companies of GP practices designed for shareholder returns.

Our fundamental aim should be the removal of the purchaser/provider split which has been developed from the nineties increasingly up to the present time, most damagingly through the Health & Social Care Act in 2012, particularly by means of the Section 75 regulations in 2013.  Removing the purchaser/provider split will enable better integration by managers and clinicians working together as planners and providers.  The cost of the present system compared to the purchaser/provider arrangement is huge and has resulted in the NHS costing much more, caused by the costs of staffing as commissioners and finance employees as well as the costs of contracts.  We should continue to resist the cuts and closures and privatisations now being implemented by the Coalition Government.

We have to recognise, however, that a Labour government, if elected, will not go that far.  We want and expect them to repeal the Health & Social Care Act.  In the process we need them to deal with PFIs by a combination of renegotiation and taking their cost centrally off the NHS books.  We want all private contracts to be withdrawn as soon as possible.

In this process we need to recognise the dangers of the EU/US treaty, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated under the radar.  We want health and social services exempted from the treaty together with the removal of the disputes procedure – the ISDS – which gives powers to multinational corporations over individual governments and parliaments.

Payment By Results should be removed as it distorts activity by hospitals against the interest of patients.  The ability of hospitals to provide 49% of their activity privately is unacceptable and should be removed. The whole issue of Foundation Trusts should be re-examined to establish a system where hospitals do not compete with each other and are managed solely in the interests of patients.

Specifically, whilst we support moves to develop primary care to reduce pressure on the secondary sector, primary facilities should be built up before making such changes.  Such moves include the use of walk-in centres, urgent care clinics, strengthening GP practice including the provision of more health centres staffed by a wide range of practitioners.  One other factor should be giving power to patients through a return to the old Community Health Councils or similar arrangement.

The labour party is moving towards a model of care that recognises the important links and relationships between physical health, mental health and social care.  Andy Burnham MP spelt this out when he launched this approach.  The SHA should give its support to Labour in this matter.  The links would be achieved by putting health care fully under local authority control.  This has three advantages: the first is that this approach avoids a further top down reorganisation; the second is that it achieves local democratic accountability; and, thirdly, it brings the cultures of health and social care closer together.  For this to be effective national government should be required to distribute funding according to the needs of local populations.

Whilst supporting labour the SHA should have the aim of achieving free social care on a similar basis to that of health over a period of time.  When the Oldham report, set up by the Labour Party, comes out the SHA should develop policy on this matter.

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6 Comments

  1. Mervyn Hyde says:

    Labour are the problem, people think Labour are Labour, but in fact New Labour are not socialists but social democrats that believe in Free Market dogma.

    Andy Burnham says a lot of things without clarifying what they mean, Labour of course talk in terms of preferred provider, that means accepting market intervention. As you rightly point out the cost of running hospitals and care provision has increased and now we see double the amount hospitals becoming insolvent.

    Which is really all part of the grand plan, this has been the strategy for undermining public services for over forty years now.

    When Blair came to power he promised to transform Labour calling it New Labour, (modernisation the buzz word for privatisation). People did not understand the rolling programme that he and Brown laid out, only after many years and pandering to Americas whims did people really start to understand that things were not quite what they seemed. Blair realising that he was now coming increasingly under the microscope, famously called on the Loyalty card saying “TRUST ME.” Never has a politician so deceived the Labour party as Blair has done, now along with the rest of the front bench, Chuka Umnna being the latest to test the Loyalty card by pronouncing in the Guardian that “we are all Capitalists now.”

    Recent revelations in the Rebekah Brookes trial demonstrates the deceit of Tony Blair, where he promised to help her in any way he could, telling her to copy his tactic of producing her own report of events such as Blair’s Hutton report. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/interactive/2010/oct/22/david-kelly

    Ambulance personal were ignored when they pointed to the lack of blood at the scene where Kelly was said to have committed suicide.

    Ed Miliband promised “he got it,” when he was elected leader, I don’t think his secret memo supports that belief when it shows that he has introduced Alan Milburn back to lead on Health Strategy. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/07/secret-memo-blairites-labour-election-alastair-campbell-alan-milburn-ed-miliband

    These are the people we should be getting out of the Labour Party not bringing them back in, just goes to prove you can’t trust Ed Miliband.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1486532/Labour-orders-MP-to-keep-quiet-over-Milburn-scan-deal.html

  2. Val Hudson says:

    I wasn’t aware that Milburn had been reintroduced to lead on health policy. I wish he wasn’t there at all but will be EXTREMELY disappointed and angry if he’s leading on health

  3. Martin Rathfelder says:

    Milburn’s job seems to be to run the election campaign, not to determine health policy.

    1. Mervyn Hyde says:

      “Every six weeks, the memo says, there will be “Alan Milburn chats” between Miliband and the former health secretary, who helped to run Labour’s 2005 campaign.”

      The above was extracted from the Guardian report, I really don’t think these cosy little chats will be about how to form a campaign to return the Health service back to where it was prior to this coalition.

  4. mikesquires says:

    Alan Milburn,along with Lord Patten, still seems to be a member of the advisory board of Bridgepoint capital,part owners of Care UK
    Seem a strange choice to be heading Labour’s election team.
    However will he get the time along with his commitment to CareUK ?

  5. Rural voter says:

    New Labour is not Social Democrat; it seems just to claim that it runs capitalism better than the Tories. When Kinnock first used that phrase in the 1980s, I left the party.

    There’s quite a difference between a mixed economy and a capitalist one where virtually everything is left to ‘the market’. Some things just do not work in the private sector – look at the railways which are more costly and less punctual than with BR.

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