2017 was a good year for the Association.  We saw a big increase in our membership and our new Chair  managed to organise a resolution about the NHS which was carried unanimously by the Labour Party conference to great acclaim.  We finally managed to make some progress on our policy discussions, both internally and in discussion with the Labour health team. Over the past couple of years it has been difficult to organise events because the volatile political situation, and elections, both external and internal, have diverted people’s attention. But now it seems possible. We organised a very high powered conference on public health which gives us some excellent policy building blocks.  We are now in a much better position to help developing Labour health and care policies. 

We have managed to re-establish working branches of the Association in Liverpool, Cheshire, and, hopefully, Manchester. We need to do more to get to know our new members and involve them in our activities.  We have been doing our best to support Labour parties in the places where it matters – marginal constituencies.  That isn’t easy, because our members, unsurprisingly, are mostly in places where Labour is in a majority.  But we have been doing what we can in Southport, North Wales, Cornwall and the marginal seats in London.  And we need to do more to get our new members involved.

This year we finally gave up on the paper version of our magazine, Socialism and Health published fairly regularly and sent to all our members since 1965.  We weren’t alone.  The Health Service Journal also abandoned its print edition this year.

It’s not clear yet what the outcome of the Labour Party’s democracy review will be, but it has already had the beneficial effect of bringing the Socialist Societies closer together.  We hope to work more closely with them next year.  Too often we find people in the Labour Party with a keen professional interest in health who didn’t know we existed, and the other societies have similar problems.

This year we are looking forward to the NHS 70th birthday celebrations in July.

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