We agreed a few paragraphs about ten years ago, which we use to describe what the Socialist Health Association is.  We are now considering whether we can improve on that description.

What do you think of these proposed words?

The Socialist Health Association is a democratic membership organisation. We campaign for a fairer, healthier and more equal society. Founded in 1930 as the Socialist Medical Association our members helped the Labour Party set up the National Health Service. Since 1948 we have been working to defend and extend the NHS and to reduce inequalities in health.

These are our principles:

  • Health care is a communal responsibility that should be available to rich and poor alike in accordance with need.
  • Care should be free at the point of use and funded through progressive taxation to meet the physical, mental health and well-being requirements of the community.
  • People should be engaged in their own care, and communities should be engaged in the well being of their locality and in democratic control over services.
  • We want a society which reduces health inequality and promotes health and well being.

Of course these are not our only principles.  We are also reconsidering the vast range of policies we have formulated over the last 86 years.   The point of this statement is that we need something very concise to go on membership forms and the like.  So if you would like to suggest improvements please don’t make the statement longer.

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12 Comments

  1. Here is my suggested rewording, not fundamentally changing the structure but I hope improving it. Each para has explanation of what’s changed in [ ].
    Health and social care is a communal responsibility and human right that should be available to everyone in accordance with need. It should be free at the point of use and funded by government, supported by progressive taxation to meet the physical, mental health and well-being requirements of the community. [Changed from “medical”, added notion of health etc as a right and reflected more accurately the taxation relationship]
    People should be active participants in their own care, and communities should be engaged in finding solutions for the well being of their locality and in democratic control over services. [Not just engaged by active participants – might need to strengthen further to head off temptation to dump responsibility on indivs and communities]
    We strive for a society which reduces inequality, thereby promoting health and well being. [Not just want it but work towards this end]

    1. healthaudit says:

      Isn’t including social care with health mission creep? personally I dont go along with the integrationist agenda. Each have different issues to address .
      And regarding heath as a right undermines healthcare as a right which is more achievable.

  2. Daniel Brett says:

    I think it should go beyond NHS provision to a more holistic approach to health, encompassing education, leisure, environment and social care. Wellbeing is key. Maybe wider social transformation should be part of the principles, not just focus on one institution of provision.

    1. healthaudit says:

      too wide a mission undermines the mission

  3. Alan Rogers says:

    The NHS should focus on medical treatment and care. At present in England and in Wales the NHS budget pays for Religious Care at a cost of £20 million p.a. in England and £1.3 million p.a. in Wales. Religious care should be facilitated by the NHS hospitals but funded either by the religion industry or by a charitable trust.

    1. healthaudit says:

      Care takes many forms

  4. davidakirby says:

    A society that promotes health and wellbeing… needs to say promotes health for everybody – that is, a society that strives for universal emancipation.

    1. healthaudit says:

      Mission creep again

  5. mikesquires says:

    Not much here that most Tories would disagree with.
    We need to include opposition to profiteering from peoples ill health
    Democratic control of services is good. Too often large organizations like hospitals have been governed by selected Chairs and NEDs. These need to be replaced by elected hospital boards to make them more professional.
    I think we need to insert somewhere in the principles-a publicly funded and publicly provided NHS. That would mark us out from the Tories who believe that an NHS provided by private companies would be better.
    As Socialists we know that this is nonsense and that democratic ownership and control is always cheaper and better.
    Needs tightening up

    1. healthaudit says:

      Isn’t the point to attract as many people as possible ?
      And Democratic ownership and control can be excercised in a number of ways and doesn’t preclude private GP’s and private health suppliers.
      Principles should be broad and inclusive not raising obstacles to participation .

      1. andydoc says:

        How can the point possibly be to attract as many people as possible? We need red lines somewhere. We are the Socialist Health Association not the Social Democratic or even Neo Liberal Health Association. So we should be opposed to private profit in the provision of healthcare. Additionally, given the WHO definition of health, and the huge interrelationships between Health and Social care and the indistinct boundary between the two (health bath vs social bath) we ought to include some principal on social care.

  6. Martin Rathfelder says:

    A revised version- still under discussion:

    The Socialist Health Association is a democratic membership organisation. We campaign for a fairer, healthier and more equal society. Founded in 1930 as the Socialist Medical Association our members helped the Labour Party set up the National Health Service.

    Since 1948 we have been working to defend and extend the NHS and to reduce inequalities in health.

    We believe:

    Health care is a communal responsibility that should be available to rich and poor alike
    The NHS should be publicly owned, publicly provided and publicly accountable
    Care should be free at the point of use funded through progressive taxation
    People should be engaged in their own care and in democratic control over services which affect their health
    Our society should promote health and well being.

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