Category Archives: Socialist Health Association

The Socialist Health Association (SHA) notes the public health green paper – Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, which was published on the 22nd July by the Cabinet Office.

 

We believe that this is a missed opportunity, which ignores much of the evidence on what works best to improve people’s health and wellbeing. Doing something at the level of communities, such as changing an ‘obesogenic’ environment, is more effective and much better value for money, than doing something one by one for individuals..  The paper also largely ignores the impact of poverty and the gross and worsening inequalities in health. At a time when the Government wishes to unite the country, this again betrays its inability to put first the health and wellbeing of all communities.

We support the recognition that health is an asset and a composite health index should be used at Cabinet and across government departments in their planning and investment decisions. We also strongly support the goal of a smoke free country by 2030 but believe that this will need strong regulation and taxation policies. We also support the removal of barriers put in place of water fluoridation, which is an effective way of promoting oral health in children and thus their dentition for life. Finally we support the strengthening of food and drink regulations in respect of salt, sugar and fat content but look to committing to specific measures such as the sugar tax for milky drinks and beverages.

40 years after the Black report on ‘Health Inequalities’ (1980), there is still too little commitment to address poverty. Poverty exacerbated by years of austerity, has resulted in reducing life expectancy and increasing infant mortality. There is no shortage of expert evidence and advice such as the Marmot reports which point to investment in the first 1000 days of life, early years education, the need to have a living wage and a society which enables ageing well. We need to see a strategic commitment by government to abolish child poverty, support parents in the early years and ensure that people have access to jobs that provide a living wage for families.

The Green Paper disappoints too in drawing back from a purposeful commitment to regulate and use taxation to shape the powerful commercial determinants of our health, such as the food and drink market.  We do not see the evidence for change unless linked with regulation (salt), taxation (sugar) and pricing (alcohol unit price). Similarly the rapid growth in gambling driven by advertising on television and social media and enabled by the digital world will require urgent legislation to prevent the growth in harm caused by addiction and consequential debt.

The SHA has recently published our own ‘Prevention and Public Health policy’ endorsed by the Central Council (available at www.sochealth.co.uk), which unlike the government’s Green Paper gives priority to the Climate Emergency and Planetary Health as well as prioritising addressing the social determinants of health.

The Green Paper makes individuals responsible for their own health in a way which will exacerbate the health outcome gap between the rich and poor. There is strong evidence for achieving better health outcomes through implementing interventions on the social, economic and environmental determinants of health and wellbeing. The emphasis on genomics, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) is misplaced in population level prevention policies, although we agree that these areas are exciting and need further research and evaluation

More recent evidence over the past 20 years of the Climate Emergency – the 21st century public health challenge – also needs to be a high priority for prevention and public health.

SHA 26th July 2019.

1 Comment

SHA Central Council unanimously passed this motion at its last meeting. Please circulate and discuss at your CLPs and wards and consider whether you want to choose this as a motion to go to conference. It is an opportunity to shift Labour policy forward. The beginning of the motion succinctly describes the current disastrous situation, deepened by this government:

 

England’s Social Care system is broken. LAs faced £700m cuts in 2018-9 with £7 billion slashed since 2010. 26% fewer elderly receive support, demand grows.

People face isolation, indignity, maltreatment, neglect, barriers to inclusion and independent living.

Most care is privatised, not reflecting user needs/wishes. Public money goes to shareholders and hedge funds as profits.  Service users and families face instability as companies go bust.

Staff wages, training and conditions are slashed.  Staff turnover is 30+%.

8 million unpaid, overworked family carers, including children and the elderly, provide vital support.

 

The second part of the motion offers a set of solutions that go beyond more funding – we are exploring routes to a socialist approach to social care and support:

 

Conference demands Labour legislates a duty on the SoS to provide a universal system of social care and support acknowledging a right to independent living wherever possible:

  • Based on need and offering choice.
  • Meeting the needs of all disabled, frail and sick throughout life with robust safeguarding procedures.
  • Free at the point of use, universally provided, fully funded through progressive taxation
  • Subject to national standards based on Human Rights, choice, dignity and respect for all, complying with the UN Rights of persons with disabilities, including Articles on Independent Living (19) Highest Attainable Health (25) and Education (24).
  • Democratically run services, delivered through local public bodies working co-productively together with users and carers.
  • Training to nationally agreed qualifications, career structure, pay and conditions.
  • Gives informal carers strong rights and support, including finances and mental health.

 

Labour to establish a taskforce involving users and carers/Trade Unions/relevant organisations to deliver the above, including an independent advocate system, and national independent living support service.

Do contact us if you need any information or advice about submitting or debating this motion. “

Thanks

Brian

2 Comments

Introduction

 

The  SHA Council agreed to pull together some of the existing policies on prevention and public health, introduce new proposals that have been identified and put them into a policy framework to influence socialist thinking, Labour Party (LP) manifestoes and future policy commitments. The SHA is not funded by the industry, charitable foundations or by governments. We are a socialist society which is affiliated to the Labour Party (LP) and we participate in the LP policy process and promote policies which will help build a healthier and fairer society within the UK and globally. An SHA working group was established to draft papers for the Central Council to consider (Annex 1).

 

The group were asked to provide short statements on the rationale for specific policies (the Why?), reference the evidence base and prioritise specific policies (the What?). Prevention and Public Health are wide areas for cross government policy development so we have tried to selectively choose policies that would build a healthier population with greater equity between social groups especially by social class, ethnicity, gender and geographical localities. We have taken health and wellbeing to be a broad concept with acknowledgement that this must include mental wellbeing, reduce health inequalities as well as being in line with the principles of sustainable health for future generations locally and globally.

 

The sections

 

These documents are divided into five sections to allow focus on specific policy areas as follows:

 

  1. Planetary health, global inequalities and sustainable development
  2. Social and the wider determinants of health
  3. Promoting people’s health and wellbeing
  4. Protecting people’s health
  5. Prevention in health and social care

 

The working group have been succinct and not reiterated what is a given in public health policies and current LP policy. So for example we accept that smoking kills and what we will propose are specific policies that we should advocate to further tackle Big Tobacco globally, prevent the recruitment of children to become new young smokers, protect people from environmental smoke and enable smokers to quit. We look to a tobacco free society in the relatively near future. Whether tobacco, the food and drink industry, car manufacturers or the gambling sector we will emphasise the need to regulate advertising, protecting children and young people especially and make healthy choices easier and cheaper through regulations and taxation policies.

 

Wherever appropriate we take a lifecourse approach looking at planned parenthood, maternity and early years all the way through to ageing well. We recognise the importance of place such as the home environment, schools, communities and workplaces and include occupational health and spatial planning in our deliberations.

 

We discuss the NHS and social care sector and draw out specific priorities for prevention and public health delivery within these services. The vast number and repeated contact that people have with these servces provides opportunities to work with populations across the age groups, deliver specific prevention programmes and use the opportunities for contacts by users as well as carers and friends and relatives to cascade health messages and actions.

 

The priorities and next steps

 

In each section we have identified up to ten priorities in that policy area. In order to provide a holistic selection of the overall top ten priorities we have created  a summary box of ten priorities which identify the goals, the means of achieving them and some success measures.

 

This work takes a broad view of prevention and public health. It starts with considering Planetary Health and the climate emergency, global inequalities and the fact that we and future generations live in One World. A central concern for socialists is building a fairer world and societies with greater equity between different social classes, ethnic groups, gender and locality. We appreciate that the determnants of such inequalities lie principally in social conditions, cultural and economic influences. These so called ‘wider determinants and social influences’ need to be addressed if we are to make progress. The sections on the different domains of public health policy and practice sets out a holistic, ecological and socialist approach to promoting health, preventing disease and injury and providing evidence based quality health and social care services for the population.

 

The work focuses on the Why and What but we recognise the need for further work to support the implementation of these priorities once agreed by the SHA Council. Some will be relatively straightforward but others will be innovative and we need to test them for ease of implementation. A new Public Health Act, as has been established in Wales, but for UK wide policies would make future public health legislation and regulation easier.

 

The SHA now needs to advocate for the strategic approach set out here and the specific priorities identified by us within the LP policy process so they become part of the LP manifesto commitments.

 

Dr Tony Jewell (Convener/Editor)

Central Council

July 2019

The complete policy document is available below for downloading.

Public health and Prevention in Health and Social carefinaljuly2019

Leave a comment

You may have seen the Panorama programmes about the shocking crisis in social care. If not, please see links to iPlayer at the end of this post.

Below is a motion that I’ll present at my local Labour Party branch meeting on 9 July next week.

The motion has been agreed by the Reclaim Social Care Group (RSCG) with the aim of getting it discussed and accepted as union policy at Labour Party Conference this year.  Although I’m not ‘registered’ disabled, I’m a member of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

The RSCG is co-ordinated through the umbrella group, Health Campaigns Together (HCT). It includes representation from Socialist Health Association (SHA), and KONP (Keep Our NHS Public).  Also included in RSCG are the National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC), several unions including Unite and Unison branches, and a wide range of disabled people’s user-led groups, and writers and academics.

Motion: Reclaim Social Care

England’s social care system is broken. Local Authorities face £700m cuts in 2018-19. With £7 billion slashed since 2010, 26% fewer older people receive support, while demand grows.

Most care is privatised, doesn’t reflect users’ needs and wishes; charges are high. Consequences include isolation, indignity, maltreatment. Disabled and elderly people face barriers to inclusion and independent living, thousands feel neglected.

8 million unpaid, overworked family carers, including children and elderly relatives, provide vital support.

Public money goes to shareholders and hedge funds as profits. Service users and families face instability as companies go bust.

Staff wages, training and conditions are slashed. Staff turnover over 30%.

This branch demands Labour legislates a duty on the SoS to provide a universal social care and support system based on a universal right to independent living: 

 

  • Free at point of use

 

  • Fully funded through progressive taxation

 

  • Subject to national standards based on article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities addressing people’s aspirations and choices and with robust safeguarding procedures.

 

  • Publicly, democratically run services, designed and delivered locally, co-productively involving local authorities, the NHS and service users, disabled people and carers

 

  • Nationally agreed training, qualifications, career structure, pay and conditions.

 

  • Giving informal carers the rights and support they need.

 

Labour to establish a taskforce involving user and carers organisations, trade unions, pensioners and disabled people’s organisations to develop proposals for a national independent living support service, free to all on the basis of need.

 

(250 words)

Notes for members

SoS – Secretary of state

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA).

This is an alliance of Disabled People and their organisations in England who have joined together to defend disabled people’s rights and campaign for an inclusive society. ROFA fights for equality for disabled people in England and works with sister organisations across the UK in the tradition of the international disability movement. We base our work on the social model of disability, human and civil rights in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

We oppose the discriminatory and disproportionate attacks on our rights by past and current Governments. Alliance member organisations have been at the forefront of campaigning against austerity and welfare reform and inequality.

National independent living service

The social care element of Disabled people’s right to independent living will be administered through a new national independent living service managed by central government, but delivered locally in co-production with Disabled people. It will be provided on the basis of need, not profit, and will not be means tested. It will be independent of, but sit alongside, the NHS and will be funded from direct taxation.

The national independent living service will be responsible for supporting disabled people through the self-assessment/assessment process, reviews and administering payments to individual Disabled people. Individuals will not be obliged to manage their support payments themselves if they choose not to.

The national independent living service will be located in a cross-government body which can ensure awareness of and take responsibility for implementation plans in all areas covered by the UNCRPD’s General Comment on Article 19 and by the twelve pillars of independent living, whether it be in transport, education, employment, housing, or social security. The cross-government body will also be responsible for ensuring that intersectional issues are adequately addressed.

BBC Panorama – Social care 

Part 1:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005jpf/panorama-crisis-in-care-part-1-who-cares

Part 2 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005qqr/panorama-crisis-in-care-part-2-who-pays

8 Comments

The life long member of the Socialist Health Association, Dr Julian Tudor Hart died on July 1st 2018. The following is the funeral tribute paid to him by Dr Brian Gibbons who worked with Julian in the Upper Afan Valley Group Practice  in south Wales.

=========================================================================================

There is no great forest that is made up of a single tree, no great river made from a single tributary or no great mountain range with single peak.

And as we come here to remember and commemorate the life of Julian Tudor Hart—we realise what a multi-faceted individual he was.

He embraced and embodies such a broad range and depth of
subjects, knowledge and skills, accomplishments and life experiences

 

To say that Julian was interested in politics and the life of the community that he served for almost three decades would be like saying that Gareth Bale was known to be able to kick a football.

Julian’s politics were principled, passionate and undiminishing right up to the final months and weeks of his life.

Even then he was involved in the Labour Party, Swansea Labour Left and in the affairs of the Upper Afan Valley — in campaigns to keep the key community facilities open such as Cymer Swimming Pool open.

And he was revived and renewed with Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election and the outcome of the last year’s general elections which showed that British elections no longer had to be won from the middle ground of politics.  And that it was possible to offer people, and particularly the young, a radical alternative for change

And, I’m sure, Julian was not only pleased to see a leader from the left at the helm of the Labour Party.
But he would have also been pleased that that leader shared another of Julian’s great passions — gardening.

If Julian had a chance to speak to Jeremy Corbyn he would have talked not only about politics but also runner beans, carrots, radishes and lettuce.

And those discussions would have given a new meaning to the idea of “organising a left wing plot “ !!!!

 

Julian’s politics came from the heart

But it found expression in the head and in the hand.

He investigated and analysed and applied the scientific method to his political beliefs.

And Julian respected all those who did the same even those who took a diametrically different point of view from him.

It was all the more than painful for him, therefore, to see over recent years to see that ignorance, prejudice and bigotry is too often used as evidence in much of the present political debate.

Karl Marx said, and I am sure that to quote him here this morning at a humanist funeral for Julian Hart is in order.
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

And this is what exactly what Julian did.

Yes he used the scientific method to interpret the world but not with some sort of detached view of the ivory tower academic or to provide frothy intellectual fodder for the chattering classes.

But to intervene to make a difference, to make society a fairer and more equal place for us all to live, a place where we can all work together for our own mutual benefit and the common good, where we all live a more enriching and enjoyable life.

Where all would contribute according to their ability and receive according to their need.

 

Julian was a man of action.
From campaigning side by side with the people who lived in Glyncorrwg and the Upper Afan Valley, through writing papers, pamphlets and books, giving interviews and partaking in debate, peaking and organising meetings,

He was an active, conscientious and creative member of many organisations as diverse as the Socialist Health Association of which he was the first honorary president and the Royal College of General Practitioners of which he was a council member for many years – where he constantly took the view that high professional and clinical standards, particularly for those with the greatest health care needs, were the natural ally of a thriving NHS.
He advised national political parties and governments in various parts of the world.
And he had a particularly important role in the development of health policies in the run up to and in the early years of Welsh devolution.

In short he walked the streets with the people of Glyncorrwg in their campaigns and he also walked on an international stage.

And in mentioning all of this, we do need to remember the support he received from his wife Mary and his children whose home was often a cross between a Heathrow terminal and Piccadilly Circus as people dropped in from far and near from the Afan Valley to the Appalachian Mountains and even further afield.

He also brought his activism and creative thinking to many local campaigns.And we can see the physical legacy of that in the Upper Afan Valley – the South Wales Miners Museum, Glyncorrwg Ponds and Glyncorrwg Mountain Biking Centre.

Of course Julian would agree that none of this would have been achieved without the co-operation in local community efforts and a massive amount of hard work and effort by many local people.
But equally I am sure that there are few who would disagree that none of these projects would have achieved what they did without Julian Hart.

 

Julian Hart was an unrepentant socialist …but he was most particularly committed to promoting and protecting the NHS.

He saw the NHS as being the embodiment of the values of a socialist society, where people contribute, through their taxes, according to their ability to pay – unless you are Google or Amazon, of course — and you receive according to your need.

Nye Bevan was, apparently, once asked how long he thought the National Health Service would last and he is reported as saying “ The NHS will last as long as there’s folk with faith left to fight for it.”

But one of our most resolute fighters for the NHS has left us.

Already many people have started to consider what sort of monument or memorial would be fitting to commemorate Julian Hart’s life work.

But I am sure that Julian would be first to say – the greatest of all memorials would be the continuing campaign to protect the NHS and the work to allow it to innovate and expand, to develop and to flourish as an even greater public service than it is now.

One of Julian’s favourite singers was Paul Robson, who was once one of his patients, and one of Paul Robson’s most popular songs was Joe Hill which you will hear later.

Joe Hill was a Swedish immigrant and trade union organiser in the USA who was framed for murder and executed in Salt Lake City.

The song reminds us that even though Joe Hill did die, his spirit lived on wherever there was a the struggle for trade union rights and a campaign for social justice

And Julian’s spirit will live on to be a similar source of
inspiration though he is no longer with us.

Joe Hill said is his last letter – “Don’t mourn, organise!”

Julian would have repeated that message

Organise to protect and build the NHS.
Organise to build a better, more caring and equal society.

That must the first and enduring monument and then we can get on with the rest.

Leave a comment

Present: Alex Scott-Samuel (ASS), Tom Fitzgerald (TF) Diane Jones(DJ), Nicholas Csergo(NC), Vivien Walsh(VWa), David Wrigley(DWr), Steve Bedser(SB), Gurinder Josan(G J), Jane Roberts(JR), Guy Baily(GB), Brian Fisher(BF), Brian Gibbons(BG), Tony Jewell(TJ), John Lipetz(JL), Mike Roberts(MR), Eileen O’Keefe(EO’K), Vivien Gilardi(VG), Stephen Warren(SW), Carol Ackroyd(CA), Norma Dudley(ND), Coral Jones(CJ), Caroline Bedale(CB), Allison Gardner(AG), Shaun McBride(SMcB), Laurence Cotter(LC), Jon Shaffer(JS), Kathrin Thomas(KT), Mark Ladbrooke(ML), Paul Leake(PL), Jos Bell(JB), Helen Cranage(HC), Irene Leonard(IL), Alan Hall(AH),

Judith Varley(JV)     Tom Fitzgerald (TF) came later

Observers:   None

1    Apologies:  Jean Hardiman Smith, Jacky Davis, Allison Scoular, Catharine Grundy-Glew, Corrie Lowry, Katrina Murray, Tony Beddow, Caroline Walsh, Andy Thompson, Peter Mayer, James Williamson

Alex Scott Samuel welcomed delegates and everyone sent greetings and good wishes to Jean Hardiman Smith, Tony Beddow and Andy Thompson that current health problems will be speedily resolved

2   Minutes of the September 1 Leeds Central Council meeting and Matters Arising   Many amendments had been proposed following the Leeds meeting.  JV pointed out that the Minutes were not supposed to be verbatim of all comments made but a brief summary to convey the essence and conclusion of debates.  She noted debate in as unbiased a way as possible.  Anyone with specific detailed, technical information should send her an e-mail note of it to ensure its accuracy.  JV can only record delegates who sign the attendance sheet as present

Jane Roberts was present in Leeds and Brian Gibbons had sent apologies.

Item 3   Disciplinary Appeal   Guidelines were ACAS not NHS  GJ had asked that subgroup personnel and numbers should be recorded.   Bf commented that there had been criticism of the disciplinary process.  One of the recommendations following the criticism was that the CC has ultimate responsibility for the process.  In order that Martin’s treatment be fair and the reputation of the SHA be maintained, he had suggested the criticism be taken seriously and that CC respond in a positive style.  He added that though the process had been criticised, Andy Thompson’s recommendations should be taken seriously and need to be seen as fair.

Item 5  CB said Manchester branch did not have funds so Martin Rathfelder had suggested a Treasurer was un-necessary.

3 Chair’s Review      Review of Governance 2014  (Clarke Review) – available on the SHA website

GJ asked whether the Clarke Review is for discussion today or approval.  ASS said the 2014 review should be examined rapidly by an appropriate voluntary group convened by Andy Thompson to bring it up to date.  JL suggested a group of 5 could be organised urgently to report back.  MR (one of the Clarke review commissioners) said it was obvious by 2014 that SHA governance was inadequate, and the legacy of this recognition is that as an organisation, SHA has indeed proved unfit.  Proper governance should be set up in time for the AGM so a report should be available and agreed by the January meeting, otherwise SHA will be open to criticism.  JB added that it was essential we became incorporated to become a limited liability company.  PL reminded us that governance also applied to local Constituency Labour Party and branch associations.  BG said  SHA was dysfunctional, and a review of Clarke, incorporation and standing orders was essential.  VG said there was a serious lack in respect of standing orders, and she’d like to have new people reviewing Clarke.  Could volunteers from this meeting be forwarded to Andy for his immediate attention as soon as he’s better?  SW said there’s a history about why Clarke was left aside; it stated everything that was needed for an organisation and it now needs urgent attention and rapid implementation.  Should some elements be prioritised for upgrading?  JR asked that short Terms of Reference be circulated to Central Council.  GJ asked if members from branches could be included in the review panel.  BG suggested priorities should include finance (with Officers getting full access to all SHA accounts, and was assured by TF that this had now happened), membership, and constitutional matters – including that any delegate missing 2 consecutive meetings of Central Council without explanation /apology, would be deemed to have resigned.

CB requested a full financial report at the next meeting

4     Officers’ Reports

Secretary’s report     Labour Party  Conference:  The SHA proposal as a contemporary Motion on social care was not successful and BF would like advice on how we can ensure social care is included in next year’s conference.  There were 2 very successful SHA fringe meetings, one on maternity policy and the other on social care and reinstatement of the NHS with Emma Dent Coad MP and Eleanor Smith MP contributing.  CJ had spoken on the decriminalisation of abortion in N Ireland at the Women’s Conference.  SHA members had also taken part in a health discussion organised by Health Campaigns Together in the World Transformed fringe conference

NW Regional LP Conference    Jean Hardiman Smith proposed a Motion on the Mental Capacity Assessment Bill  and wants this discussed at CC

ASS commented that the shadow health team is keen to continue discussion with SHA, particularly on health inequalities and digital systems

Treasurer’s Report    TF reported that all accounts have now been recovered and a written report would be  provided at the next meeting

5   Report on the Disciplinary Appeal.  David Wrigley (DW) as Chair reported.  He thanked Jean Hardiman Smith for her help despite her on-going health problems.  Two of the 4 CC delegates who had volunteered for the October hearing were randomly chosen with 1 reserve.  Martin’s grounds for appeal were that sanction of dismissal was too severe.  Alongside legal support and meeting all ACAS requirements, allegations and counter-allegations were examined and all issues addressed over a period of 5 hours.  Questions were asked and answered, and the decision was left over to the following day to allow time for careful consideration of all aspects of the information heard.   The original decision was upheld.   DW then took questions from CC.

JR asked for details of the legal advice and DW confirmed ACAS advice had been taken, the panel were fresh and independent of previous proceedings or information. SHA had employed a specialist employment solicitor for this stage of the appeal.  Whilst Andy Thompson had provided legal experience for the primary hearing, he was not present for the secondary appeal but was available should DW or colleagues need support or further help.  DW also thought it inappropriate for further discussion since the next stage of the disciplinary process is now with ACAS.  SB agreed it was inappropriate to continue discussion as the appeal was still underway.  However, he wanted to be confident that the Officers were discharging their duties effectively and asked if there might be any personal liability for costs; specifically, were homes at risk?  He wanted more than anecdotal assurance, and ASS responded that expert advice is that delegates will not incur legal costs and he supported DW’s comment that disclosure of further details might prejudice the outcome of future actions.

SW and JB commented that questions raised now could await answers until it was acceptable in terms of due process.

JR and AG asked why the legal advisor could not be named, GJ asked about the accusation that the panel were making things up, wasn’t there a liability to SHA members, and CC need to be satisfied with due process?   LC stated that a verbal explanation of procedure was insufficient; it had to be written.  ASS assured delegates that a full report will be produced at the end of the process.

Later in the meeting, debate returned to the Disciplinary process and specific questions were asked.  I have inserted it here because of its relevance to the topic.   ASS repeated that the legal ruling was that because verbal debate by CC delegates might prejudice the eventual outcome of any future Tribunal, the matter should not be further discussed.  Once the process is complete, the lawyer would be paid and a written report provided.  Some delegates thought on-going information about the advice sought and given should have been provided to CC and a final report is not the same thing.  ASS said the acceptable process is the report once it’s completed.  Further questions were posed and ASS then curtailed discussion by asking for a vote on a motion that had been proposed, on moving to the next item.  The motion was carried.

6       Policy Report   (Tony Beddow in absentia)     Groups have been set up on Mental Health and Public Health.  Not all CC delegates had been involved in choosing the topics

AH suggested priorities could be as planned, or in response to emergency.  Decisions were needed as health developments were happening so quickly.  BG said Tony’s prescriptive model and might not be possible for every topic.  Kathrin’s paper had been discussed in Leeds and needs to remain on the agenda.  JL said KONP and HCT were keeping us up to date with health events whilst we were driving the immediate agenda.  GJ asked that diversity and inclusivity should be respected especially in mental health

7    Resolutions  JR withdrew her motion.

8 Labour Party

NHS Reinstatement Bill    ML said there was a strong input to the shadow cabinet and ASS confirmed there was a strong team behind the shadow team, with Eleanor Smith, Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick.  The Bill as it stands at present is on the parliamentary website and had support from Jon Ashworth and the leader’s office

National Policy Forum  JB said that due to the  democracy review the NPF would have only one more meeting before being disbanded. CA said the SHA policy development team needs to push on the NHS Bill as well as in the sub-sections, so we need to be clear what we are doing and asked that these comments be fed back to Tony.  ASS said an NHS Bill may be enacted at the earliest stage of a Labour Government, so we need to know how this can best be achieved.  NC said consultation can be via the NPF Report.  MR reminded us that whilst talk about the NHS is positive, health inequalities, poverty and public health continue to increase.  There’s a ripple effect from the NPF but the shadow team needs to be kept up to date.  The biggest problem with the NHS is the social care team, JB suggested meetings on specific topics on the next few months

9    AOB

Social Care Conference   BF reminded delegates of the Social Care Conference to be held in Birmingham, and the Local Government Conference in Manchester next week and asked if any SHA member could get there.  ML said that now at the end of the living wage week, the UN Special representative Report had highlighted the health collapse in the UK.  Could SHA write to support the living wage campaign?

Women’s Conference  CJ raised the matter of the Women’s Conference in Telford in February. BF asked for a Motion on social care to be included; this was agreed.  Each CLP can send 2 members to this meeting. CJ said motions and delegates for the LP Women’s Conference in February need to be decided by mid January.  Allocation is 2 delegates / CLP, 1 of which was to be disabled or BAME or LGBT.  In answer to her question, only women vote.  SB said Catharine Grundy-Glew (not present) wants to be included.  CB said delegates could be self-selected and asked if named individuals could be changed subsequently.  SB said that for CLP or affiliate delegates, the deadline is the 14 Jan, and that would be rigid.  ASS said he’d ensure delegates would be circulated in time to complete the process.

10 Next meetings

The next SHA meeting has been rescheduled to 19 January, 1.00-5.00pm,  and will be in Oxford.    The AGM will be on 30 March in Cardiff.

 

Judith Varley   Minutes Sec    7.12.18

2 Comments

Author Tony Beddow 1.11.18

Purpose

This short report gives progress made with our policy development process since the last Central Council meeting.

Members may recall that central Council previously agreed that four possible areas of work could form the focus of policy development in the coming months.

These are:

  1. Mental Health – building upon the (inchoate) policy produced by the Labour’s National Policy Forum
  2. Public Health policy – building upon current SHA policy, identifying gaps and undertaking work to fill them
  3. A National Care Service – exploring the boundaries of this emerging concept, its funding and governance and other aspects deemed relevant.
  4. The needs of carers – exploring the different needs of young and old carers, carers in rural and urban areas, carers with their own care needs, and other characteristics that require a policy response.

Progress to date

Member working groups have been established for b) and c) with co-conveners being Mike Roberts and Dr Tony Jewell for b) and Dr Brian Fisher and Tony Beddow for c).

Members of a) have been identified and two possible co-convenors are, at the time of writing, discussing how they might take this forward.

In all cases, membership has been drawn from different pars of the UK and from different experiences – with a workable group total of 7- 8 members.

The needs of carers did not engender much interest and this group remains to be formed.

Next steps

Co – conveners have been asked to provide a “scoping report” to the next Central Council setting out their proposals for the topics, questions or enquiries that they seek to explore or address, the timescales for doing this, and the target date for bringing a draft policy document to Central Council for debate and either adoption after amendment, or for further revision and work.

Central Council is requested to note this report.

4 Comments

April 2014

Call for Action—for a democratically accountable, membership led SHA

The Socialist Health Association’s January Central Council (CC) and March AGM have highlighted serious issues of governance and accountability within the SHA, problems which remain to be addressed. The AGM did not adopt either the Treasurer’s or the Auditor’s report and merely noted the Director’s and Chair’s reports.

The SHA is a democratically accountable membership organisation.

In the light of concerns about previous elections January CC agreed that the 2014 election would be tightly managed including a more formal and more clearly labelled call for nominations to go out. This did not happen.

In response to concerns raised that the CC included individuals with potential conflicts of interest through NHS-related consultancy and business work, the governance group requested that all candidates for election to be formally required to declare all relevant interests. This did not happen.

Requests were made by the governance group to confirm the list of eligible members and make these list accessible to all Branches. This did not happen.

In accordance with the Constitution, any CC members who had consistently failed to attend meetings were to be reminded of their duties and rendered ineligible for election. This did not happen.

Emails have been seen which appear to indicate that the Director disseminated selective information to individuals or branches, which would have influenced the outcome of the election. We seek credible reassurances that this did not happen

During the past year at a time when health policy and the NHS was at the top of the political agenda the SHA national body has not been visible on any of the major issues affecting the NHS in England.

No clear position on how the H & SC Act should be repealed. Likewise no clear view on Lord Owen’s Bill to re-establishing the Secretary for Health’s requirement to provide a full and comprehensive health service is forthcoming. No clear position has been taken on the care data issue, nor on Section 75, nor on Clause 119, nor on PFIs, nor on the dangers of the EU/US treaty, i.e. the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), on the health service.

The SHA is a democratically accountable Labour Party Affiliate.

Do members of CC and Officers accept that the current governance arrangements including the lack of legal structure, lack of clear line management arrangements,  lack of communications oversight, lack of policy formation oversight carry significant risks, not least in terms of reputational damage to individuals, the SHA, and the Labour Party, as per the Governance Groups report and recommendations?

The work of the Governance Group evidence based, comprehensive and rooted in good practice, including other Labour Party affiliates. The views of the entire SHA membership had been sought on this work.

The group met with officers and staff and invited constructive suggestions on several occasions.

The group was told by officers that its work and recommendations were broadly welcomed. However the work was then publicly disparaged by Officers and the paid staff. The process was publicly misrepresented by the Officers who claimed not to have met with the Governance Group. The final Governance report was not published to members as requested. Officers instead submitted a separate tranche of changes to the AGM without reference to the Governance Group.

Most of the Governance Group’s proposals received majority support at the Council but not the required two thirds majority. However, this matter will not go away, Council should determine which Governance Group proposals need re-examining.

The GG recommended an Executive is needed to ensure the SHA follows through on decisions of the CC to tackle urgent matters.

 

The SHA is a membership organisation, tasked with contributing to the development of Labour Party health policy.

  •  How has the SHA enabled its membership as a whole, and its Central Council in particular, to effectively and efficiently feed into the LP policy development process?
  •  Does Council recognise concerns that – even taking into account limited resources – the SHA is not amplifying the expertise and experience of its membership, to identify and influence key areas for policy development?
  •  The system of policy formation is weak. Task and finish groups should be set up and supported to ensure this is done effectively.
  •  How is it ensured that public SHA statements are representative of agreed policy? When an SHA spokesperson disregards agreed SHA positions (or opens politically sensitive debates in an erratic fashion) how under the current arrangements – is that addressed and managed?

Concerns were raised in 2011 about how the SHA was being represented online, in public. We draw the CC’s attention to the Communications Protocol accepted by CC in 2011 as a proposed way forward. The issues persisted and in June 2013 the Editorial Board was installed to address these.

The EB was tasked with developing and ensuring best practice in communications and establishing a clear oversight of statements made by those representing the organisation in public. Its work was undermined by Officers.

An (uncosted) Mediation process was proposed and agreed in January 2014 to address what were presented as urgent issues. However, no effective action appears to have been taken by officers to expedite this and three months later these issues persist.

What oversight of the SHA’s online presence does CC propose and what accountability is there for what is published online under the SHA name? Eg in November 2014 the EB requested that a page was removed because it undermined agreed SHA positions four months later the article in question was reinstated without any consultation with CC.

In public representations and communications how does the SHA Leadership currently ensure that public statements promote and do not damage the reputation of either the LP or the SHA?

The SHA is a voluntary organisation and its greatest asset is its membership.

Like all voluntary organisations its effectiveness relies on the contribution and goodwill of its active members.

How has the SHA Leadership encouraged and supported current members who have volunteered to contribute to the work of the organisation and what measures has it taken to recruit new members?

We draw attention to the fact that currently at least three Central Council members are disabled; Central Council should ensure that all meetings are held in an accessible meeting place with accessible transport links – which has not always been the case.

We also note the inconsistencies in re-imbursement of travel and printing costs by volunteer Council members who incurred costs as part of agreed work.

Given the continued under-representation shown to women, ethnic minorities and disabled people, and the fact that members of these groups have highlighted a non equalities-friendly culture, what has the SHA Leadership (Officers and paid staff) undertaken to improve this sitaution and enable and support women, disabled and ethnic minority members to be actively involved in the SHA?

Call for Action

The SHA at UK level needs to consider all these matters. We need an SHA that is fit for purpose. We ask officers and Central Council, as well as the Director, to address these matters urgently and ensure that CC has sufficient time dedicated to discussing these matters at the July meeting of CC or at a specially called for

EGM and decide on necessary actions.

Harry Clarke

Noemi Fabry

Councillor Mike Roberts

Vice Chairs to March 2014

Prof Tony Beddow CC

Vivien Giladi CC

Judith Varley CC

Dr Thomas Fitzgerald CC & Auditor

Ali Syed MBE CC

Councillor Rachel Harris CC April 2013

Caroline Molloy—CC co-opted 2013-14

John Lipetz CC

Reposted for inclusion in the November Central Council meeting.

1 Comment

SHA Birmingham Central Council 1.9.18 in the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. The meeting opened at 1.30

Headings, significant actions and other matters in bold

Present:   Alex Scott-Samuel Chair (ASS), Andy Thompson Vice Chair (AT), Tom Fitzgerald Treasurer (TF), Alison Scouller (AS), David Mattocks, Vivien Walsh (VW), Paul Leake (PL), Caroline Bedale (CB), Mark Ladbrooke (ML), Catherine Grundy Glew (CGG), Steve Bedser (SB), Tony Beddow (TB), Irene Leonard (IL), Mike Roberts (MR), Helen Cranage (HC), Pater Mayer, Vivien Giladi (VG), John Lipetz (JL), Brian Fisher (BF), Allison Gardner (AG), Carol Ackroyd (CA), James Williamson (JW), Gurinder Singh Josan (GSJ), Corrie Lowry (CL), Judith Varley

Apologies for this meeting: Jean Hardiman Smith Secretary (JHS), Kathrin Thomas, Chris Bain, Colenzo Jarret-Thorpe, Dave Watson, David Davies, Guy Baily, Jacky Davis, Jessica Ormerod, Jon Shaffer, Katrina Murray, Sina Lari, Stephen Warren, Tony Jewell, Lawrence Cotter, Coral Jones, Diane Jones, Jane Roberts, Nico Csergo, Guy Collis, Shaun McBride, Jos Bell, Corrie Lowry

Leeds meeting amendments: present: Vivien Walsh, Peter Marshall    Apologies: Catherine Grundy Glew

Birmingham meeting    Observers:   None

2   Minutes of Leeds meeting: Several delegates were missed off the list of those present, others said they’d sent their apologies but these had not been recorded. Delegates must take personal responsibility for signing the attendance sheet. Apologies will be recorded if they’ve been seen. The Minutes were accepted with those amendments and an understanding that they are not a record of every comment or question

VG suggested delegates who had missed 2 successive CC meetings without apologies should be removed from CC and GSJ said branch Secretaries should be informed before any action was taken against delegates elected by branches. ASS said Officers would consider these matters

ML asked if paper work could be sent several days ahead of a meeting and together rather than piecemeal

AT will be looking at the website, how it functions and to provide access passwords

CB mentioned that the final window for contemporary motions is noon 13 September

MR said the Clarke commissioned Report should be on the Agenda for the next meeting, since some elements are not fit for purpose, others are out of date and the recommendations had not been agreed by CC in 2014. This and the call for Action Report should both be addressed by CC particularly as a more intelligible version is now available

There were discussions about points of order, dispute and dissent at the Leeds meeting and about how fully these should be recorded. ASS pointed out that minutes were never to be verbatim, only summaries. GSJ asked that points of order and action should be recorded and that delegates should understand the meaning of incorporation of the association because of liability problems which might arise in future. Was it a personal decision for a delegate to be replaced by someone else? ASS said that the ‘presumptive delegate’ at the Leeds meeting was attempting to substitute for an elected delegate who hadn’t resigned, so this was unconstitutional and unacceptable. JL suggested that delegates standing down and their replacements should notify CC. TB said that as a delegate based organisation, SHA regions / branches are responsible for selecting and de-selecting delegates but resignations are accepted and new delegates normally appointed at the end of the year. Points of Order are normally challenged under Standing Orders. Points of Order or Points of Information are often used to get a voice in situations where the individual might not otherwise be able to speak. Generally, matters are understood in accordance with the Labour Party Rule book.

JW questioned the process and said it should be fair and transparent. AT replied that he had spoken of ‘back channel pressures’ operating outside the meeting and in social media with the intention of influencing the outcome of the disciplinary hearing and therefore were NOT relevant to the meeting.

BF asked how delegates could intervene in the business of the meeting without Points of Order and was assured all members were able to express their views, and unscheduled items could be raised under AoB if they weren’t on the agenda. SB said the Chair had managed time thereby frustrating delegates wishing to speak at CC. As there were no guarantees of delegates being able to express ideas or challenges at CC, perhaps agenda items should be timed in future. ASS said long discourses were inappropriate, and he’s also keen on gender balance if possible.   CGG asked if contentious issues should be high on the agenda so there’s adequate time to air views

3   Chair’s Report: The disciplinary procedure is on-going involving a huge amount of work for the Officers and Vice Chairs. ASS formally thanked and congratulated all those who have taken part and for the support they have given

4   Secretary’s Report:   JHS was absent due to illness (see apologies), so there was no written report, but she and her husband, Ken, have already done enormous amounts of SHA admin work throughout the Summer for which both are thanked. JHS is continuing to run all admin functions. Comments and articles for facebook should be sent to her. Once official speakers are confirmed, she’ll advertise in the official LP Conference material though BF asked if this would be possible since there’s still no proper access to accounts. Commitments to premises and other arrangements for the SHA fringe meeting have been met. Membership lists are up-to-date though some have multiple inaccuracies, (to be reported more fully). Claims for expenses, including any outstanding expenses from previous meetings, should be sent to Jean along with bank account details if she hasn’t got them already. The expenses listed on the Birmingham attendance sheet have been sent to Jean. VW asked about the Manchester branch meeting arranged for 2 weeks time; Jean is in discussion with members about this. GSJ asked about the website development, which subgroups have been set up, who’s doing what etc… AT said he’d been fully occupied with the panel but would be asking for working group volunteers after the LP Conference. CB asked if anything could be shared with anyone else to relieve the load on Jean and Ken, but as matters are still so tangled, that’s not possible.

5   Treasurer’s Report   Access to bank accounts is still incomplete, compounding current problems. We cannot pay for meetings, local or national, without being sure we have funds to cover them, and changing signatories to the accounts has been difficult and is still underway. ASS has contacted previous signatories regarding their replacement so Officers can recover control and the process is still underway too. Formal agreement to the new signatories, Tom Fitzgerald, Alex Scott-Samuel and Jean Hardiman Smith has been recorded. Previous arrangements meant Martin Rathfelder had discharge of matters costing less than £500, the Treasurer, those of greater value. This report and changes were accepted and agreed unanimously by the meeting.   IL said there’d been a similar problem in the CLP, changes to signatories had to be notified by the Secretary on headed notepaper with the appropriate Minute and it all took time. ASS commented that 3 former signatories had been supportive but progress was slow as it entailed postal mail exchanges.   For the future, we need to consider having transfer forms for signatories already prepared. TF confirmed our purpose is to run campaigns, a key one currently being to save the NHS, and to support local SHA groups, Manchester branch has funds and Martin Rathfelder is its Treasurer. However, honouring our previous commitments prevents making further financial commitments to any branch event until we have access to all accounts, and claims cannot be backdated. Current travel re-imbursements can be met. ML said Oxford branch had raised £150 in a meeting held in one of the most deprived area of Oxford, and offered to loan money to branches in difficulty, with the proviso that branches should seek to raise their own funding. CB said she had been nominated to become Manchester branch Treasurer, but Martin Rathfelder had objected. TB wondered if Martin was Treasurer by default or had been elected and then AT blocked further discussion since it might affect the current process. BF said SHA needed a proper financial policy for central and peripheral matters

6   Labour Party matters. A proposal for Contemporary Resolution, on Social Care by Brian Fisher still needed a title but was open for endorsement by CC. JL asked that it be proposed in the spirit of Nye Bevan as was done in the health motion last year, social care should be free, universally available and publically funded. CA was thanked for her contribution and seconded the proposal. It was thought there was little chance of it being discussed at Conference but social care will be a big issue over the coming year. MR mentioned refs to the Green Paper including one entitled ‘Adult Social Care and Support’; support was low whilst demand was so high, and it all meant more pressure on the health service. The problems arising from not doing anything on social care whilst the government insists it’s the responsibility of the Local Authority are immense and it’s essential to focus on the impact of the National HEALTH Service. BF said the proposal needed debate since the current incumbent had no commitment to this motion, and whilst he (BF) thought it would get through the Contemporary Motion gate, he didn’t want it framed with impact on the NHS as it’s about social care. VG thanked BF and colleagues for their work but wanted permission to ‘tweak’ it to get it through various gates at Conference. ML commented on the crisis in social care funding with many regressive ideas. ASS asked for motions to be submitted to the Conference Committee via him or JHS, and by 20 Sept. Branches and CLPs should be encouraged to support it as it will go to a priority themes ballot. JHS or Coral Jones will be invited to the Composite Committee if it’s accepted. This year’s conference has NO slot for health and social care! SB offered tactical advice that each region should have a delegate branch meeting on Sunday am as this would enhance chances of the motion being called, and we should all seek local supporters for the Contemporary Motion. JL reminded us of the inadequacies of support for children’s and older people’s support. CA commented that a Report on the Crisis on Social Care had been published on 31 Aug. Public funding, free at point of access had been addressed. The Women’s Group need to deal with the infrastructure including ‘soft’ budget funding, some minor ‘tweaking’ is necessary. BF will not be at the Composite meeting and Jean and Coral need to be briefed. GSJ asked if delegates might contribute to the tweaking if they’re present as delegates. This was accepted by the meeting.

Women’s Group meeting. Decriminalisation of abortion across the UK had been popular and support was building. One motion can be selected to take forward to the main Conference. VG thanked AS for her work preparing this doc.

SHA fringe meetings   Maternity policy and Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital 12.30 – 2.30 Monday 24 Sept, chaired by Irene Leonard

Re-nationalising Social Care 6.00 – 8.00 Tuesday 25 Sept. Brian Fisher in conjunction with Health Campaigns Together. Eleanor Smith MP will speak at this meeting

Both the events detailed above will be at the Quaker Meting House, 22 School Lane, L1 3BT. One or both of these sessions will commemorate Julian Tudor Hart; they are open to all comers.

BF will also be submitting a Contemporary Motion on Social Care to the main LP Conference as described previously.

In addition, Sunday 23 Sept 11.00 at ‘The World Transformed’ at the Blackie there will be a session on NHS Campaigning with SHA, Health Campaigns Together and ‘Neon’

There will also be the march in support of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital led by Prof Wendy Savage on 22 Sept starting at 12.00 at the Hospital and arriving at the LP Conference site for speeches and the Socialist Singers at around 3.00

21 Sept   ‘Pensioners United’ screened at the Plaza in Crosby. Tickets via Eventbrite. John McDonnell likely to be present.

As we have missed the deadline to be in the printed programme, we must use social media and the app. To publicise SHA events. Targeting similar meetings and entrances with fliers works well in Liverpool. CB asked about the cost of doing this and whether personal underwriting is possible to us included in the official brochure.

7 Any Thompson’s interim Report on the Resolution of the Disciplinary Panel and Incorporation

Main points:

No one person should hold the logins, passwords and control of finances; all Officers should have access. The process and culture should be of transparency to everyone anywhere. The lack of policies has created massive difficulties. New financial arrangements will be instituted and best practices implemented.

SHA cannot continue as an unincorporated organisation; this needs urgent attention with liability / member expressly limited (likely to be £1). Employer’s liability insurance will cover risks.

The website should be bespoke, not ‘standard’; it needs urgent attention enabling Officers (and maybe some sub-groups) to access a full range of all SHA documents. Maintenance and development of the website is likely to take some time, but some immediate steps are needed.

The Disciplinary Panel work is in accordance with NHS Guidelines and is compliant with other systems. Legal advice will be sought if, when, where necessary. Several legal opinions might be sought; those associated with appointment tribunals might be appropriate. AT believes the disciplinary process is defensible, he wants prompt resolution without undue delay of the process for reasons of time, public discussion and in the interests of the members. David Wrigley who will chair the Appeal has had all the paper work and has reported to Jean.

Andy’s statement prompted comments, suggestions and questions which are summarised below.

They included recruitment procedures, affiliation to other organisations, competence, training needs for Officers, clear job descriptions – maybe needing HR analysis -, governance, accountability and responsibilities issues, and a Director subject to a contract which MUST be delivered. The Clarke Report, originally rejected, should now be revisited. SHA has an accountant, and the Labour Party can advise on some issues. For recruitment, it will be necessary to determine functions, and it seems likely that 1 person will be insufficient. MR suggested the Chair of Labour Business is a lawyer and might give cost effective advice. Sorting everything is a long process, and should not to be de-railed or fail for some minor problem. Key matters needed resolution, the 2014 report on the SHA website by a working group headed by Neomi Fabry should be looked at again.  AT’s recommendations would result in a long report, but when fully implemented, SHA would be professionally fit for the 21st century. BF commented that the process had been criticised but Andy’s recommendations should be taken seriously, and need to be seen as fair. SB said we needed to get the basics right first, and then tackle core policies; whilst robust advice must be paid for, the CVS might have some appropriate ‘off the shelf’ policies we could use alongside current practices to see if they were better. The Officers would agree how best to take forward the Report’s recommendations. JL thanked AT for his work and CC accepted and agreed his Report.

8 Policy Development Process   TB presented Kathrin Thomas’s paper which raised 3 points:   1 Individual members getting their ideas to CC via the delegate structure should first test them in the branches to remove glitches.   2 Is the policy group a filter before the policy commission?   3 new polices should be linked to those already existing. ASS said that as agreed by CC on June 9, TB is Vice Chair leading on policy and his brief includes making recommendations and picking up the work of Brian and the policy commission. ASS is the link to the shadow health team. BF commented that a rapid reaction process is needed – a turn-round of responses within half a day. Some way of CC agreeing something quickly is necessary, and a key matter is how a policy is finally signed off. It was suggested that any active policy discussion should be flagged up for delegates to contribute. CGG considered the time frame for passing policy and whether this allowed for adequate branch level discussion. Delegates were especially aware of the special situation of social care needing small group discussion. MR commented that a ‘Green Paper’ approach should be adopted; the whole of local government needs examining, public health, health inequalities, and the framework whereby best practice can be brought forward. IL proposed a discussion forum for the website. ML said consultation / engagement was very necessary and to bear in mind that International Aid under Theresa May was linked to trade deals and Trump policies. TB supported the Green Paper approach and said that CC should hold policy development sessions twice yearly. Public health gap analysis, carers issues, issues arising from combining health and social care and funding had all been addressed in the last year, all fairly heavy policy concerns yet the LP has no formal policy. What relationship did SHA have with the shadow team? Other players need to be influenced, like media, web-based discussions etc.. but may be beyond our technical competence. Volunteers? Mental health was assessed as needing £20 billion when MPs last considered NHS shortfalls. Serious debate on taxation policy was required. ASS asked for TB to develop this programme further and CC agreed this decision

AoB AT returned to technological concerns, particularly ways of engaging with members, including those in remote areas, in live discussion. Raising money is always difficult and he favoured a land value tax targeting the wealthy. CL voiced her concern about what we can all see happening in the country and hopes to see a more positive attack from the LP. AG commented that standards shpuld be developed and met, and collaborative on-line meetings should not be impossible to organise.

The meeting closed at 4.30     Date of next meeting Nov 10 London

Judith Varley   10.9.18

Leave a comment

Chipping Barnet CLP notes that access to contraception is a fundamental human right underpinning equality, impacting on the health, structure and prosperity of both society and families. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act disadvantaged women, separating much of the funding for contraceptive care from the NHS by moving the responsibility for commissioning into Local Authorities, with NHS providers competing for contracts. As a result, the commissioning of contraception is now separate from the commissioning of other aspects of women’s health, including abortion. From both a woman’s and a clinical perspective, this is illogical. Compounding this, the impact of austerity on Local Authorities has led to a reduction in services, reduced access and to a postcode lottery for contraception in England.

Chipping Barnet CLP believes that contraceptive services need to be fully funded and accessible in all areas of the UK, with co-operation replacing competition. It welcomes the commitment of the Shadow Health Department to abolish competitive tendering for these essential services, and to work with clinicians to establish centres of excellence alongside regular accessible clinics to which women have free and easy access to confidential care.

Chipping Barnet CLP calls on the Labour Party to resolve to deliver fully funded contraceptive services in all areas of the UK, setting up a working group whilst still in opposition, composed of experienced clinicians and commissioners, to write a blueprint for delivery which will be implemented within the first year of the Labour Government.

Published by Jean Hardiman Smith with the permission of Sarah Pillai ( Chipping Barnet CLP )

Leave a comment

SHA Wales

 

‘LEGISLATION WATCH WALES’ – October 2018

Health and Social Care Briefing

Acts

Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=16496

The Act makes provision for a new statutory framework for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs. This is to replace existing legislation surrounding special educational needs and the assessment of children and young people with learning difficulties and / or disabilities in post-16 education and training.

The Act also continues the existence of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales and provides for children, their parents and young people to appeal to it against decisions made in relation to their or their child’s additional learning needs, but renames it the Education Tribunal for Wales

The Bill was introduced on 12 December 2016. Royal Assent was given on 24 January 2018.

Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Act

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=17260

According to the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Act, the purpose and intended effect of the Act is to end all variations of the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.

The key purposes of the Act are to:

  • abolish the right of eligible secure tenants to buy their home at a discount under Part 5 of the Housing Act 1985 (Right to Buy);
  • abolish the preserved right of eligible former secure tenants to buy their home at a discount under section 171A of the Housing Act 1985 (Preserved Right to Buy);
  • abolish the right of eligible assured or secure tenants of a registered social landlord or private registered provider to acquire their home at a discount under section 16 of the Housing Act 1996 (Right to Acquire);
  • encourage social landlords to build or acquire new homes for rent, the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will not be exercisable by tenants who move into new social housing stock more than two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent, subject to certain exceptions;
  • provide for at least one year after the Bill receives Royal Assent before the abolition of the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire for existing social housing stock comes into force.

Further detail about the Act can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Bill was introduced on 13 March 2017. Royal Assent was given on 24 January 2018.

Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) Wales Act

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=20029

The Act provides for a minimum price for the sale and supply of alcohol in Wales by certain persons and makes it an offence for alcohol to be sold or supplied below that price.

The Act includes provision for:

  • the formula for calculating the applicable minimum price for alcohol by multiplying the percentage strength of the alcohol, its volume and the minimum unit price (MUP);
  • powers for Welsh Ministers to make subordinate legislation to specify the MUP;
  • the establishment of a local authority-led enforcement regime with powers to bring prosecutions;
  • powers of entry for authorised officers of a local authority, an offence of obstructing an authorised officer and the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs)

The Act proposes the MUP would be specified in regulations. However, for the purpose of assessing impacts and the associated costs and benefits, the Explanatory Memorandum uses a 50p MUP as an example.

The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act became law in Wales on the 9th of August 2018.

Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=19962

The purpose of the Act is to amend or remove those powers which are deemed by the Office for National Statistics (“ONS”) to demonstrate central and local government control over Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

These changes will enable the ONS to consider reclassifying RSLs as private sector organisations for the purpose of national accounts and other ONS economic statistics.

Further detail about the Act can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act 2018 became law in Wales on the 13th of June 2018.

Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Act 2018

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=21280

A Government Emergency Bill, introduced by Mark Drakeford AM, Cabinet Secretary for Finance. An Emergency Bill is a Government Bill that needs to be enacted more quickly than the Assembly’s usual four stage legislative process allows. A definition of an Emergency Bill is not provided in the Government of Wales Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) or in the Assembly’s Standing Orders however Standing Order 26.95 states that:

“If it appears to a member of the government that an Emergency Bill is required, he or she may by motion propose that a government Bill, to be introduced in the Assembly, be treated as a government Emergency Bill.”

As with all Assembly Bills, Emergency Bills must relate to one or more of the 21 Subjects contained in Schedule 7 to the 2006 Act in order for it to be within the scope of the Assembly’s legislative powers.

The Act is intended to preserve EU law covering subjects devolved to Wales on withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Further, it will enable the Welsh Ministers to ensure that legislation covering these subjects works effectively after the UK leaves the EU and the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

The Act enables the Welsh Ministers to legislate to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU in order to facilitate continued access to the EU market for Welsh Businesses. It also creates a default position in law whereby the consent of the Welsh Ministers will be required before any changes are made by UK Ministers to devolved legislation within the scope of EU law.

Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Act 2018 became law in Wales on 6 June 2018.

Legislation in Progress – current Bills

Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=20012

This is a Committee Bill, introduced by Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee. The Business Committee has remitted the Bill to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee. The Bill includes provision which set out the new powers for the Ombudsman to:

  • accept oral complaints
  • undertake own initiative investigations
  • investigate private medical treatment including nursing care in a public/private health pathway
  • undertake a role in relation to complaints handling standards and procedures

 

Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum. The Bill is currently at stage 2.

Autism (Wales) Bill

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=19233

An Assembly Member Bill, introduced by Paul Davies AM was successful in a legislative ballot in March 2017, and given leave to proceed with his Bill by the Assembly in June 2017.

The Business Committee has remitted the Bill to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.

The overall purpose of the Bill is to ensure the needs of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Wales are met, and to protect and promote their rights.  The Bill delivers this purpose by seeking to:

  • Introduce a strategy for meeting the needs of children and adults in Wales with ASD conditions which will:
    • Promote best practice in diagnosing ASD, and assessing and planning for meeting care needs;
    • Ensure a clear and consistent pathway to diagnosis of ASD in local areas;
    • Ensure that local authorities and NHS bodies take necessary action so that children and adults with ASD receive the timely diagnosis and support they need across a range of services;
    • Strengthen support for families and carers and ensure their wishes, and those of people with ASD, are taken into account;
    • Promote research, innovation and improvement in ASD Services;
    • Establish practices to enable the collection of reliable and relevant data on the numbers and needs of children and adults with ASD, so that the Welsh Ministers, and local and NHS bodies can plan accordingly;
    • Ensure key staff working with people with ASD are provided with appropriate ASD training; and
    • Regularly review the strategy and guidance to ensure progress.
  • Require the Welsh Ministers to issue guidance to the relevant bodies on implementing the strategy.
  • Require the Welsh Ministers to collect suitable data to facilitate the implementation of the Bill.
  • Require the Welsh Ministers to undertake a campaign to raise awareness and understanding of ASD.

Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Bill is currently at stage 1 (consideration of the general principles of the Bill and the agreement of the Assembly to those principles).

Childcare Funding (Wales) Bill

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=21394

A Welsh Government Bill, introduced by Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care. The Business Committee has remitted the Bill to the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

The Childcare Funding (Wales) Bill (“the Bill”) gives the Welsh Ministers the power to provide funding for childcare for qualifying children of working parents and to make regulations about the arrangements for administering and operating such funding.

The Bill is intended to facilitate the delivery of a key commitment in the Welsh Labour manifesto ‘Together for Wales 2016’. This is to provide 30 hours per week of government funded early education and childcare to the working parents of three and four year olds in Wales for up to 48 weeks per year (this is referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill as ‘the Offer’).

All eligible 3 and 4-year-old children (from the term after their third birthday) are entitled to a minimum of 10 hours early education per week during term time over 39 weeks of the year. The Offer builds on this universal entitlement and provides up to a total of 30 hours early education and care per week over 48 weeks of the year for the 3 and 4 year olds of working parents.

The Bill relates to the childcare element of the Offer and is therefore concerned with the funding that will be provided in respect of the eligible children of working parents.

Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Bill is currently at stage 1 (consideration of the general principles of the Bill and the agreement of the Assembly to those principles).

Renting Homes (Fees etc…) Wales Bill

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=22120

A Welsh Government Bill, introduced by Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Housing and Regeneration. The Business Committee has remitted the Bill to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

The Bill includes provision for:

  • prohibiting certain payments made in connection with the granting, renewal or continuance of standard occupation contracts;
  • the treatment of holding deposits.

Further detail about the Bill can be found in its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

The Bill is currently at stage 1 (consideration of the general principles of the Bill and the agreement of the Assembly to those principles).

Future and possible Bills (of interest)

Assembly members have voted to introduce a Welsh Parliament and Elections Bill due to be brought forward in early 2019. The Bill will be designed to change the name of the Assembly to Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament; lower the voting age for Assembly elections to 16; amend the law relating to disqualification from being an Assembly Member and make other changes to the Assembly’s electoral and internal arrangements.

http://www.assembly.wales/en/newhome/pages/newsitem.aspx?itemid=1910&assembly=5

In the statement on forthcoming legislation 2018/19, the First Minister highlighted:

  • A Bill to remove the defence of reasonable punishment
  • A Bill to improve accessibility of Welsh Law and how it is interpreted
  • A Local Government Bill (lowering the age for elections and a range of other proposals – not ‘wholescale merger’)
  • A Bill to establish an Duty of Quality for the NHS and a Duty of Candour for Health and Social Care, introduce and establish a new independent body to represent the citizen’s voice in health and social care services and will require LHBs to appoint a Vice Chair
  • Ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses

Updated October 2018

Leave a comment

General comments:   It was wonderful to be amongst such an enthusiastic group of diverse people, of wide age range, varied skin tones, many dressed relating to the country of their family origins, with and without disabilities (wheel chairs were very much in evidence); they seemed to reflect the diversity of our population as I experience it on the street. There was a joyful atmosphere despite almost all the topics reflecting the distress amounting to cruelty imposed by this current government on those least able to fight back; the hunger for change, just the prospect of being able to work in a co-ordinated and supportive way to do something about it is palpable. It’s always so stimulating to be amongst people who are energised to tackle the job for which we know there is such urgent need, although the practicalities of undoing the effects of this long austerity will not be easy. It was also useful to encounter organisations of which I was only vaguely aware previously. All the events out of the main hall in both the main conference and the World Transformed were jammed with people, seats quickly taken, standing room also gone and people bulging into the corridor, leaning one ear towards the door to catch as much as they could.

Women’s Conference:   The SHA Motion supporting Abortion Rights across the UK was not taken forward to the main conference. Coral Jones seconded this motion with a strong statement, and spoke of the dilemmas facing Northern Ireland GPs forced by the 1861 law to make decisions they wouldn’t choose in non-professional circumstances, and that Ulster women choosing an illegal abortion might face imprisonment for the rest of their lives. There is also the situation of BAME women who cannot speak openly for cultural and patriarchal reasons. The other motions were Childcare, Women’s Health and Safety and Women and the Economy. The motions, presentations and supporting contributions from the floor were so persuasive, I would have found it difficult to choose which one to support for the main conference had I been a voting delegate.   All of these motions indicate a deteriorating situation for women and therefore the health and well being of future generations too since such adversities cascade down the generations; problems introduced in one generation may never, or take many generations, or take many generations to be resolved. I suggest SHA takes up the 3 motions which were rejected for the main conference at an early date. Domestic violence, the silenced experience of 1 in 3 women is commonplace, whilst specialist supportive services for women and children have been lost since 2010. Two women killed each week in the UK is not a trivial matter; these murders are about male power and coercive control of ‘his’ woman and a new campaign ‘Level Up’ aims to get more informed, responsible, less sexist, reporting of these situations in which the woman is usually ‘blamed’ for promoting his violence. Support is being given to address male violence (which seems good), but takes funding from the woman and children and often gives the man access to his family again without having reformed his abuse of them

World Transformed – SHA, Health Campaigns Together and NEON (New Economics Organisation Network) combined presenting the debate on ‘Saving the NHS’. Speakers including Jean Hardiman Smith and Deborah Harrington (www.publicmatters.org.uk) made excellent cases with many references back to Nye Bevan’s ‘In place of fear’, how the arguments and threats raised in chapter 5 of this pamphlet in the 1940s are very relevant today, services being unaffordable, people living too long, demand too high etc… and to Julian Tudor Hart’s Inverse Care Law applying throughout the World. There was a pertinent reminder that services free at the point of need only matter if they’re of good quality. Bonnie Castillo, a nurse from the US – National Nurses United (www.nationlnursesunited.org) – pointed out that most and rising ill-health in the US is from preventable diseases, US neo-natal mortality is the highest in the developed world, and that though grass roots demand ‘Medicare for All’ is huge, it’s frustrated by corporate donor pressure blocking supportive Democrats from voting for it. It’s a timely reminder for us in England as corporate lobbying of politicians erupts volcanically here; conflicts of interest seem never to be challenged now and politicians switch easily between well paid corporate and governmental posts.

Fringe meetings on the Future of Care and Universal Credit (in association with the Trussell Trust) were predictably bleak. Barbara Keeley MP said all aspects of care is in crisis, (services, informal family and paid care); care itself had become more intensive and complex as people live for longer, sometimes with profound disabilities and requiring much more intimate intensive personal support often than before. The hollowing out of social care had led to 25% of caring situations now rated as poor resulting in ever more responsibilities being left to involuntary ‘volunteer’ family / friends. The Government’s promise of a Carers Action Plan (vague at best) and extra support for young carers had been forgotten, whilst Local Authorities, deprived of funding could not meet statutory responsibilities, so many people in England now never even approached their Councils for help, thereby contrasting with Scotland where Social Care is still funded. A commission to investigate the range of problems consequent to unpaid care in England would raise the profile of family carers and point out its impact on neglected matters like their entitlement to a pension; a pension is only available to those on the meagre Carers Allowance. The lack of training for unpaid and newer recruits to paid care also needs addressing; insofar as it works currently, the care system relies on an older workforce teaching the younger recruits voluntarily. Re-ablement, helping people to recover care for themselves is of very low priority. It would be useful to publicise the Dilnot Commission Report on Social Care (2011) and its recommendations and to take government to task for its failures. Why call it a caring system when it clearly isn’t?

The many flaws of Universal Credit and the damning report of July 2018 were aired. The numbers of food banks increased by 13% in the last year, 52% in areas where they were fully established already. The Left Behind Report has highlighted the brutality of the immediate problems of 70% of claimants who go into debt whilst waiting to gain access to support. No-one at these meetings could ever doubt the urgent need for reform of Universal Credit and re-instatement of a proper supportive welfare state providing the safety net it used to do with benefits linked to needs. Work coaches are primarily about implementing cuts. It’s not ‘just about managing’, but a question of survival now with 66% of benefit spent on food and the rest on utilities and never forgetting that this situation applies to 1 in 6 families where at least one member is in work and in work poverty has risen from 13 to 32% in recent years.

There were 2 SHA fringe meetings, both held at the Quakers and chaired by Jean

Emma Dent Code, MP for Kensington and Chelsea claimed it was the most unequal borough in Britain, with care homes run by a well known provider, it has 4 of the worse in the country according to the CQC, it has 4 food banks and has had the greatest fall of life expectation ever recorded – 6 years since 2010. She gave the example of a male in one part of the Borough with a life expectation of 63 years, whilst another living near Harrods would have 92 years. She reported many Grenfell related horror stories.

Judy Downing of the Relatives and Residents Association gave an outstanding presentation of the Labour Party’s failure to highlight the lack of standards and needs of the work force in care homes, many of which were run by small providers for profit. She claimed 1.4 million paid carers in care homes had no qualifications, (whilst this is a situation worse than operated in kennels, the same is true for informal family carers). Staff turn-over in care homes is about 28% (costing an estimated £3 – 5 billion), many leaving in less than a year, and about 50% of care homes are inadequate. Currently, US companies are making 12% profit from care homes in exchange for ‘crap’ care.   She suggested CQC should be nationalised to address these horrors with mandatory regulations and training elements.

Eleanor Smith MP called for re-nationalisation of the NHS, with a proper training budget again. Social care and care for the elderly budgets had plummeted since the 1980s, and the NHS would soon be in the same state if nothing was done. Private providers, international hedge fund managers (‘vampire capitalists’) would soon be able to affect health budgets – a clear conflict of interest – and Local Authority care workers are being warned off speaking about what’s happening. 60% of care homes don’t do health checks, there have been 3 times as many cuts in residential home beds as in the NHS. A Mental Health Capacity Amendment Bill if enacted would allow a care home manager to make the decision to deprive someone of his liberty – a privatisation of liberty! There is a financial incentive NEVER to discharge a patient when it is so profitable to keep him, as has happened for decades in private mental health care homes.

In the Health Inequalities session we were reminded of the Black Report of 1980 which linked health inequalities and poverty and was ignored by Mrs Thatcher so that since then, services have been lost and deaths have risen. How many more tragedies will happen before it is realised that we need a properly funded NATIONAL Health Service? The process has been to carve up the NHS, give powers to the Local Authorities then slash their funding. This has resulted in public health, drug and alcohol services, sexual health clinics, mental health rehab facilities, women and child welfare and support facilities, preventive medicine of all kinds, life expectation and quality of life all plummeting. Staff see a daily erosion of their service, they are subjected to constant pressure, unrealistic targets, so that many at all levels leave ill. Cuts and privatisation are rife. This is a quote from a nurse who can’t wait to leave ‘I did not become a nurse to make profits to line wealthy pockets.’ The NHS is for the people NOT profiteers. NHS Well-being terms are needed to address the injustice and assess the impact of all these changes on the lives people live including those with chronic and disabling health conditions (not forgetting mental ill-health), the unemployed, especially women’s and BAME’s lives

On the last day, Denis Skinner’s contribution was welcomed with a standing ovation. He described being inspired to leave mining and become an MP by the Atlee government of 1945. He has seen an inclusion at the Conference just not seen in everyday life. A fairer society should be judged by the obstacles it overcomes. He was there at the birth of the NHS, mentioned the various surgical procedures without which he wouldn’t now be addressing us. One was a heart by-pass performed by a United Nations team, and he listed all the countries from which the various medical staff had come – it was huge, as was his reception with laughter, clapping and cheering as the list went on and on.

Judith Varley   11.10.18.

Leave a comment
%d bloggers like this: