Minutes of the meeting held  6th June 2015 at the  Unite Building, Holborn

The Chair proposed, and it was agreed, that the Agenda should be reordered to allow members wishing to attend the Fabian event to be present for Item 5 (Labour Party issues). Item 5 would therefore now be taken before Item 4 (constitutional matters).

  1. Apologies

Accepted as printed on the agenda

  1. Minutes of the meeting held on January 2015

Accepted as true and accurate record. There were no matters arising.

3        To note the resignation of Dr Shibley Rahman

It was proposed and agreed that a letter of thanks from the Central Council should be sent to Shibley Rahman. The letter to come from the Chair on behalf of the Central Council

5        Labour Party issues:

5a      Affiliated supporters

Members noted the Scheme, and the fact that at least 30 people had responded positively to it

5b      Mayoral candidate nomination

It was proposed and agreed that the nomination of a candidate for London Mayor should be referred to SHA London. It was further proposed and agreed that, except in the most exceptional circumstances, this should be the default position in the event of other regionally elected candidates.

5c      Leadership election

i         Supporting nomination

It was proposed and agreed that the SHA should not make a supporting nomination at this stage as nominations will not close for a further 2 weeks.

ii        Socialist Societies leadership hustings

Members noted the hustings on 26th July. It was proposed and agreed that the Director should explore the possibility of holding a health hustings in Liverpool.

5d      NEC: Nomination for Socialist Society place

The Director clarified that it will be the Socialist Societies Executive who make the final decision. However the SHA can nominate a candidate for consideration. Eric Watts and Tony Beddow expressed an interest. A vote was conducted by show of hands. Eric Watts secured 9 votes and Tony Beddow secured 7 votes. Eric Watts was elected as SHA candidate.

5e      National Policy Forum: Nomination for Socialist Society place.

It was proposed and agreed that the Director be nominated for the NPF.

5f       Conference delegates

It was proposed and agreed that Chris Bain and Jos Bell would be delegates to Party conference

5g      Resolutions and constitutional amendments for Labour Party Conference

There were none at this moment. However we have until 16th September to propose a contemporary resolutions.

It was noted that we had not yet made appointments to the Socialist Societies Executive. It was proposed and agreed that the Director, Jane Roberts and Jos Bell should work together to ensure the SHA has a representative at all relevant Socialist Societies Executive meetings.

It was also noted that there were 2 post election inquiries being conducted within the Labour Party. Mike Roberts to supply details to the Secretary.

4. To consider how to deal with possible amendments to the constitution tabled at the AGM

Members made a number of points:

Political “branding” across the UK was changing, the old definitions no longer applied. There was a need to re-examine the relationships with the regions. We may need to look towards a more federated structure, or at least greater autonomy for the regions. It was stated that a Special General Meeting to consider the amendments would not be helpful at this stage. The devolution agenda has moved on and it was suggested that a working group to consider the issues could be established. It was stated that devolution was a key issue for the SHA, but amendments to the Constitution might not be the appropriate vehicle for dealing with it. The need to improve communication was a recurrent theme, things are moving very quickly and the SHA needs to keep up.

It was proposed and agreed that a Working Group on devolution should be established. The membership of the Working Group should be 2 from Wales, 2 from Scotland, 2 from London, plus the Officers. The Working Group to be convened by Katrina Murray.

The remit of the working group is to consider the issues around devolution, including funding, and to gain the widest possible consensus prior to presenting any proposals to next year’s AGM. This will hopefully avert the need for extensive re-writing on the day.

6. Strategy for the SHA

A number of proposals about campaigning were made:

We could hold policy debates in the presence of MPs

It was clear at the Election that the privatisation arguments did not gain any real traction with the electorate. Is it just that the arguments were just poorly delivered? Was marketization rather than privatisation the key issue?

We should monitor the Government’s failures over time and relentlessly get the messages out about them. Negative campaigning can be effective over time.

Might we be better to present the two contrasting visions for healthcare in the 21st Century? Our socially based system against the fragmented system of the Government?

The levels of understanding about the costs and failures of devolved and fragmented health systems are not good. Might we be best to focus on getting simple clear messages out which improve those levels of understanding?

How can we get people to embrace the idea of less hospitals and more community based services?

Should the focus be more on public health?

The health debate in England and Scotland did not appear to have any real impact. By contrast it was a live issue in Wales where the Government was left exposed because they put the emphasis on education.

In Scotland the campaign was, despite the final result, quite good. There were more people out working including younger people.

Should our focus be on bringing people together, for example in local campaigns to save facilities such as DGHs?

The key issues are cultural. It is the relationship between the patients, the professionals and the Institutions are far more important than the structural debates

Devolution is a key agenda item

Fairness in distribution should form part of our policies.

Should we be learning from the Dutch model for developing consensual policies?

The SHA needs to go back to being a campaigning socialist organisation. Should we be reinstating the local meetings we used to hold?

Are the SHA and the Labour Party becoming disengaged from the lives of ordinary people including, crucially, the NHS workforce?

The Officers to consider the key points of discussion and report back to the next Central Council meeting

 Next meeting 26th September in Brighton.

 

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