Category Archives: Internal governance

The investigation into the issues raised in the scrutineers’ report is ongoing.  All aspects are being looked at including sight impairment and employee and governance issues.

Jos Bell, the Chair of London Branch raised the issue of disabled members not always being able to attend Central Council or needing support to do so.  The Officers have agreed a “buddy” system where CC members who are disabled and who attend will be the people who will vote, but if they are unable to be present, then a deputy, usually their “buddy” can vote on their branches’ behalf. This is in line with our support for people with disabilities.

I continue to liaise with the various branches, including recently the Scottish branch, and on the 21st April attended the West Midlands AGM as a visitor and speaker.  I should like to thank them for their warm welcome.

Scottish Branch.  I visited Dave Watson in Glasgow, and the officers believe that we could learn a lot from the devolved countries.  Dave has been working directly with the Scottish government, and I found him inspirational.  They have done a great deal of work and the officers feel it would be good to hold a cross nations conference on renationalisation drawing on experience from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

I have been working with HCT and the NPC, led by Brian Fisher on Care.  Care is exceptionally complex, but its success is crucial the success of the NHS.  Our longer-term plans are still not decided, but we hope to have an update on cooperative working and perhaps a conference or two soon.  Brian and Dame June Clark, are presenting on Care to the NPC Pensioners’ Parliament.

Finally, I attended a day course at the London International development Centre on Healthcare and Critical Realism. It is a full day course, run on a Saturday, and is completely free.  The people running it are leaders in their field.  One of the people attending was Alan Taman, press for HCT, Steve carne was also on the attendee list.  It was useful for networking and inspirational.  There will be at least one other opportunity, so if you would like to know more please email me or phone.  I found it sharpened and focused my thinking, and it reinforces the way we tend to think and work on NHS and care matters.

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My apologies for not providing a written report at the AGM in March. 2017-18 has been a busy and fruitful year for the SHA. Following my ‘baptism of fire‘ – day 1 as Chair involved welcoming shadow SoS Jon Ashworth to the 2017 AGM – I was very pleased to welcome Jean Hardiman Smith, Tom Fitzgerald, Alison Scouller and Tony Beddow as honorary officers and vice chairs. It has been a pleasure to work with them and I am equally pleased with the addition of two further vice chairs, Diane Jones and Andy Thompson this year.


The membership of SHA – which had, as the bar chart shows, been static for many years – has increased exponentially during the last 15 months:

Membership numbers

My view is that this ‘epidermic of popularity‘ mirrors the ‘Corbyn effect‘ whereby the rediscovery of socialist values by the Labour Party has transformed its fortunes and made it the largest political party in Europe. I welcome also the increased number of SHA branches (see Director’s Report) and of branch delegates to Central Council.

Renationalising the NHS

Undoubtedly, another factor in our rapid increase in membership is our contemporary motion to Labour’s 2017 conference, which I had the privilege of compositing and subsequently proposing to conference last September. The motion, which was essentially about full renationalisation of the NHS in England, had been submitted by 25 CLPs in addition to SHA, with a further 15 submitting similar motions. It was carried unanimously by conference.

Since September SHA, along with many CLPs and health campaigning organisations, has advocated vigorously for full implementation of what is now Labour Party policy. Many Labour local authorities continue to cooperate with NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and Integrated Care Systems. Hence it was very welcome when the Guardian revealed last week Jon Ashworth’s commitment to consult in coming months on how an incoming Labour government should restructure a reinstated NHS based on Bevan’s original principles of universal, comprehensive, publicly provided care free at the point of use. I have offered our services to Jon and look forward to SHA working with him on this.

Organisation and development

My plans for strategic development were cut short by the 2017 general election and the need to focus on influencing the manifesto, creating a presence in marginal seats and short term outputs. These remain priorities, but the honorary officers and vice chairs have now discussed and agreed strategic development priorities and lead roles for 2018-19, as follows:

  • Operational management‘ – primarily within Jean’s role
  • Policy – Tony to lead
  • Website and associated issues – Andy to lead
  • Media / communications – Alex to lead
  • Membership / recruitment – Jean to lead
  • Liaison with labour movement, patient groups etc – Diane to lead
  • Maternity / health of women – Alison to lead
  • Liaison with parliaments / legislatures – to be agreed
  • Support to Chair – Alison

Once confirmed by Central Council, this division of labour will where relevant supplant existing roles and responsibilities and will be implemented by the officers and vice chairs as appropriate. I should make it clear that these are development priorities and are of course in addition to the fundamental roles of the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Register of interests

It has been drawn to my attention that public sector bodies maintain registers of interests which are updated and declared at each meeting. This obviously helps ensure that all members are aware of their own and fellow members’ conflicts of interest, be they political, occupational or financial. I would welcome members’ views on whether Central Council should maintain a register of interests.

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I’ve spent the last two months working on our contact lists so we can comply with the General Data Protection Regulations. I contacted most of the 36,000 people on our database.  That reduced the number to around 31,000.  Some people wanted to leave our database, many emails bounced, but 1300 wanted to stay on our list.  This gives us an opportunity to build a relationship with those people.  It isn’t very clear how the new rules apply to an organisation like the SHA.  They are concerned with marketting and the protection of personal information.   The vast majority of the contacts on our database who have not responded are not private individuals.  They are politicians, academics, local and national organisations, who advertise their contact details to the public.

We now have eight functioning branches.  The branch in Oxfordshire appears to be on the brink of viability and I’m hoping that we will manage to get at least one branch going in Yorkshire this year.

The membership of the association has continued to grow, though rather more slowly. Now at 1082 paid up members.  Analyzed by geography the current figures are:

Region Members Consented
Greater Manchester 292 294
Greater London 226 336
West Midlands 94 101
Yorkshire 67 142
Liverpool City Region 53 96
Tyne-Tees 52 57
Home Counties 49 70
South Wales 39 34
Scotland 36 66
Avon 35 80
Oxfordshire 28 23
East Anglia 28 64
East Midlands 22 63
Cheshire 20 28
Brighton 15 51
Devon & Cornwall 15 39
Staffordshire & Shropshire 15 29
Lancashire 13 37
Solent 5 21
North Wales 4 18
unknown 3 0
Kent 3 27
Rest of the World 3 7
Ireland 2 3
Dorset 0 17
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The meeting opened with an address by Debbie Abrahams MP.  She gave us a brief but comprehensive summary of the difficulties we all see everywhere, every day, and tied them firmly to the Austerity policies introduced and implemented ruthlessly by the Coalition and Tory governments since 2010.  Widening inequality is THE biggest issue of our times, she said, greater here than elsewhere in Europe and in the OECD.  Income disparities are worse for the poor, with children and women losing out disproportionately, with impact on reducing growth too.  None of these matters were recognised in the Chancellor’s Spring statement, though they had all been foreseen by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.  England has become the country of poor pay, job insecurity and the ‘self employed’, (most earning less than a living wage).  Debt was flat-lining as a whole, but has increased in the poorest of the population.  Education should be about preparing children for life, not just as workers and social security should provide for those out of work, children, the elderly and those who have become sick and disabled; with £34 billiion cuts already and more to come, the policy was an absolute failure.

The largest wealth determinants are land and property, and as fewer people own these, and their holdings have increased, they have led to further increased generational and power inequalities – the business of who makes the decisions and how.  Add to these factors, lower investment and a shift in funds from poorer to wealthier areas, we now have differences reminiscent of Victorian times.  Relating funding to the age profile, England is now below the EU average, public spending is down and life expectation down too (Marmot June and Dec 2017), whilst the state pension age has risen.  In England, 300,000 more pensioners are in poverty than in 2010, 4 million children in poverty are in working households, with CPAG estimating 900,000 are under 5 years.  3.7 million disabled people have had social service cuts since the Health and Social Security Act (2012), with twice as many now living in poverty.  Although 4 million disabled people want to work, only 25,000 have found paid employment.  Disabled access to a full public life, employment and other opportunities continues to be poor or absent contradicting the manifesto mantra, ‘Nothing about me, without me’.  This is a catalogue of failure at the most basic levels.  She ended by suggesting we need a new social contract, a Beveridge for our times.

Debbie was thanked for her contribution.


Action points in BOLD

Agenda with apologies

Minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting

Accepted by Vivien Giladi and seconded by Mike Roberts


Alex Scott-Samuel as Chair and Jean Hardiman Smith as Secretary had been re-elected unopposed

Tom Fitzgerald was re-elected as Treasurer

Two auditors were appointed, Councillor Mark Ladbrooke, nominated by Tom Fitzgerald and seconded by Helen Cranage, and James Gill, self nominated and seconded by Mike Roberts.

A new position of Minutes Secretary was suggested by Jean Hardiman Smith and Judith Varley was proposed  by Vivien Giladi, seconded by Helen Cranage

Twenty new Central Council  members had been elected. Several branch AGMs had been held shortly before the Central Council AGM.  This had led to confusion as some branch Central Council delegates were also present on the national Central Council list of candidates for election.

Vivien Walsh was thanked for her work as election scrutineer and for her timely report.  The second scrutineer’s report was not yet available.  The election results were accepted and the officers needed to see the second scrutineer’s report.  Mike Roberts suggested outstanding issues should be examined by the officers to give a rapid response, with confidentiality for any additional areas of concern.

Jean Hardiman Smith apologised that her report was still as notes currently.

Constitutional amendments

It had been proposed and agreed at an earlier CC meeting that branch AGMs should have at least 4 weeks notice given, and ordinary branch meetings 2 weeks. John Lipetz proposed a further amendment – that in addition to this, branch AGMs should be held well before the national AGM. Further debate led to agreement that branch elections should be concluded no less than 3 and no more than 12 weeks prior to the national Central Council ballot being circulated so that branch delegates already on Central Council did not contest national places.  A clarifying statement was added to the effect that anyone succeeding in a branch election to Central Council will not be eligible to stand in the national election in that cycle.

Martin Rathfelder had proposed that SHA should in future have 2 rather than 4 vice chairs and they should have honorary officer status.  Andy Thompson was in favour of keeping 4.  Caroline Bedale suggested up to 4 vice chairs be retained in order to support special areas of work and to prepare reports for the AGM. The amendment was withdrawn.


It was agreed that Martin should have 3 weeks advance notice of any proposed change of dates/venues for either Central Council or AGM

Women’s Group

With more women amongst Central Council delegates, a Women’s Group with a core of 3 CC members should be inaugurated, and it would need to meet to be effective.  Alison Scouller covered maternity issues and she commented that in practice it was difficult to arrange meetings since everyone was so busy.

Grievance procedure

Mark Ladbrooke said SHA needed a grievance policy, perhaps based on that of the Labour Party.  Grievance issues should not be raised at the AGM. (NB SHA does have a a grievance procedure)

Annual Report

Martin commented that membership was increasing substantially (now provisionally 964) and new branches were being created – all welcome developments, although the distribution of branches was concentrated in safe Labour areas.  Could all members think about recruiting members in neighbouring Tory areas?

Tony Beddow had long thought a review of SHA organisation was overdue considering the skills, competences, gaps in expertise etc amongst Central Council delegates, and proposed some professional backup working with Martin.  (???Mark Appleby) suggested we should welcome more disabled members recognising that they might need further support, financial and other to participate.  Tony Jewell commented that his locale, Fenland, was large and diffuse and it was difficult to organise a local group – suggestions as to how this could be done and how many people were needed to create a viable branch etc.. would be welcome.  SHA should try to attract more young (defined as under 27) and BAME members.  In general, more structure was needed to help new members and more local  activities organised, but in general, local groups giving opportunities for members to meet, discuss, connect, pick up ideas for campaigns etc.. were all beneficial.   Martin said national funds were available to pay for meeting rooms for branch meetings.  Organisational issues to be on the next Central Council agenda

Tony Beddow said that affiliation costs to the Welsh Labour Party had risen 4-fold from £60 – this was on the basis that SHA was equivalent to a Union and had at least 1000 members.  This needs to be taken up at national level.  Martin has raised the issue of affiliation costs previously and will take it up with the Democracy Review.

Tony Jewell suggested we could gift aid subscriptions to the David Stark Murray Trust, think in terms of legacies and investigate and revive it – all and Martin to do.

Caroline Bedale wanted information about local branch activities and Martin said he would organise a page for each branch on the website for this purpose.


Affiliation to other organisations were agreed as follows:  The Labour Party, Medact, James Lind Alliance (supports evidence based medicine), Smoke Free Action, KONP, Health Campaigns Together (HCT), Equality Trust, and European Public Health Alliance.  New NHS Alliance was disaffiliated although Brian Fisher, a NNA officer, spoke in its support.   Vivien Giladi stated that HCT was moving towards building solid links with Trade Unions.  Tony O’Sullivan said KONP groups were maximising working together and had a new website. A London demonstration for the 70th birthday of the NHS on 30 June was planned and they were working on the Naylor Report and Virgin Healthcare.


1  Caroline Walsh, represented at the meeting by Martin, was involved in the Handbook on the Equality Act.  The Act applied to all organisations including the SHA.  It should be easier for people to participate, perhaps electronically.  This was welcomed, we would commend it to the Labour Party and make a financial contribution to effecting it.  Meetings might be streamlined – the Manchester youth group might help with this. 

This Association welcomes the legal handbook “Equality Act 2010 (disability) and the Labour Party” produced by the Disability Equality Act Labour group. The hard work that has gone into this document by disabled members and experts in the field are to be commended. We commend the handbook to the Labour Party and call for it to be accepted, in its entirety, as official Party guidance. We agree to make a donation of £50 towards a print run to enable the group to make the handbook available at Party events including conference.

The resolution was carried.

Future meetings

Our meetings need to move around the country, and care taken to review dates we have already and to avoid clashes with other meetings

Policy discussions

Brian Fisher reported on the work with the Labour shadow health team.  A small group had tackled Primary Care initially, specifically the independent status of GPs, the Out of Hours situation, Social Care and how to integrate it.  They aimed to develop a brief leaflet, 3 pp in soundbite sentences.  The front bench want expertise, not necessarily from the SHA or Labour Party members.  Jacky Davis asked how we know group recruits agree with our views.  Brian stressed that confidentiality was crucial throughout and that policy was not a ‘silo’ situation – housing, education, socio-economic factors all contributed.  The people to speak on other topics had not been decided, but the numbers must be small and security ‘tight’.  Mental health was to be covered next

Central Council meeting

The AGM was followed by a brief Central Council meeting at which four vice chairs were elected. Two women – Alison Scouller and Diane Jones – were nominated and elected unopposed. X men were nominated, and Tony Beddow and Andy Thompson were elected.

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NB it has not been possible to audit the accounts in time for the AGM. An audit report will be produced for the Central Council.

Income £33,005.05
Expenditure £30,311.98
unattributed income £0.00
Surplus £2,693.07


31.12.2016 31.12.2017
Cash at Bank
14 Day £23,910.26 £27922.28
Instant £0.00 £0.00
Paypal £1,488.27 £181.96
Current £1,137.54 £996.44
Total £26,536.07 £29,100.68
Increase in funds at bank £2,583.56
Credited late £0.00 £0.00
Cashed late £18.95 £0
overpayment £0.00 £0.00
Surplus £0.00 £0.00
Discrepancy £67.63 -£128.46
Balance at bank £26,517.12 £29,081.73
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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 started the year with 683 members and finished with 792.  141 joined during the year.  52 are in arrears. Some may have joined only to vote in the leadership election.  A lot of new members have joined using PayPal. PayPal notifies us if they cancel their annual payment


Members by geography based around branches, or potential branches.

area Current members
Greater London 202
West Midlands 96
Manchester 84
Yorkshire 57
Liverpool 52
Tyne-Tees 44
Home Counties 40
Wales 41
Scotland 35
Avon 35
East Midlands 28
Fenland 26
North Midland 25
Oxfordshire 18
Plymouth 16
Brighton 12
Preston 10
Kent 7
Rest of the World 5
Solent/Dorset 7
Ireland 2

Members classified by type.

Most members could be put in several classes, and for many I don’t know enough about them to put them in a category. But this gives some indication of our varied membership

Number TYPE
115 Labour activists
71  Individuals
57 Public health
53 Mental illness
49 GPs
44 Doctors
43 Cllrs – Labour
30 KONP etc
29 Academics
28 Non-execs
27 Secondary care
27 Nurses
23 MPs & peers – Lab
20 TU – health
19 CLP officers
15 Social care
14 CHC/HW Members etc
13 Management Health
12 Dentists
9 Community Health
8 Councillor Health lead lab
8 PPI staff
7 Socialist Societies
7 Elderly people
6 FT governors
6 Students
6 Professions allied to medicine
6 Pharma
5 Babies families, maternity,
5 Clinical science
5 CCG staff
5 Freelancers
5 Disabled people organsations
5 Carers


2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Current members 651 677 654 672 683 792
Website Pages 915 974 1019 1043 1163
Website Posts 530 436 1124 1501 1853
Website Comments (cumulative) 2272 2501 2257 2863 3370
Website Page Views 338,415 375,511 410,000 382,045 408,288 347,000
Unique Visitors 131,303 158,180 181,281 171,000 204,596 171,062
Followers of the blog 360 418
Twitter Followers  1365 2845 4178 4839 5687 6104
Tweets (cumulative) 16,578 12,522 38,100 47,700 55,200
Facebook likes (cumulative) 1488 1757 1975 2067 2129 2349
Tweet impressions


137,1800 204,700 322,400
Contacts database 40,888 42,310 39,039 36,292 36,242 35,993
Website Google Page Rank 5 4 4 4 4 4
Domain Authority 41 44


Unite didn’t manage to actually pay their affiliation fee in 2017, but this seems to be administrative confusion rather than a political decision and I hope their cheque is in the post.

We discovered during 2017 that socialist societies are allowed to have up to 5 delegates to each CLP, and this has been a useful recruitment incentive.  We haven’t paid much attention to this process before, but we may need to establish a procedure to enable members in a constituency to decide which of them should be delegates if we have more than 5 volunteers.  I think the only practicable approach to this is that any member who volunteers can be our delegate unless there is some reason to object.  This is a decision for branches, and for the officers in places where there is no active branch.

I put a lot of effort into supporting members in places where we didn’t have functioning branches – Staffordshire, Cornwall, Southport, North Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Sussex and I’m pleased to report that we finished the year with more branches than we started.  But I don’t expect to see functioning branches in all those places any time soon.

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.

Our website still attracts a lot of traffic, and the historical material gets a lot of appreciation.  But our on-line presence is not as active as I would like. I maintain an active Twitter feed, but our Facebook page is not very active.  I experimented with paid adverts on Facebook but that didn’t seem to be very effective, and we need to think harder about our work in this area.

External relationships

We have done our best to support Health Campaigns Together during the year, both with money and publicity. Salford University, quite uninvited, established a scheme to give SHA members reduced fees for their conferences. I’ve also done my best to help the Labour Campaign for Mental Health and Disability Labour. I’ve been co-opted to the executive of the NHS Active Alliance and the Transport and Health study group. And I’ve been encouraging the establishment of Doctors at the Deep End in Manchester. But close working with the other socialist societies is still more of an aspiration than a reality.


Our income has been fairly buoyant this year, partly because of the increase in subscriptions, and partly because of advertising from the website. We have devised a method of publishing advertisements which makes them invisible, but satisfies the advertisers, who are actually only interested in getting a link which Google recognizes from our site to theirs. But our expenditure was considerably higher than expected. This was partly because of the public health conference – the most expensive event we have ever run, despite a contribution of £2000 from the David Stark Murray Trust, and partly because of a substantial increase in members expenses. We have more disabled members and officers than we used to and their costs are considerably greater than those of able bodied people.

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Sheffield Quaker Meeting House 13 January 2018

Present: Mike Roberts. Tony Beddow, Peter Mayer, Vivien Walsh, Rene Smit, Lawrence Cotter, Steve Bedser, Brian Fisher, Irene leonard, Gurinder S Josan, Alison Scouller, Alex Scott-Samuel

In attendance:  Martin Rathfelder, John Carlisle, Deborah Cobbett, Dave Shields, Simon Duffy, Jim Steinke

Apologies for absence: Caroline Walsh, Jean Hardiman Smith, Helen Cranage, David Mattocks, Katrina Murray, Jos Bell, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Andy Thompson, James Gill, Mike Grady, Judith Varley, Tom Fitzgerald, Neil Nerva, Vivien Giladi, Brian Gibbons, David Davies, John Lipetz

1.Minutes of the meeting in Chester  were agreed as accurate

2. Matters arising

  1. SHA policy on maternity services: Alison and others are interested in developing our maternity policy. She has a draft in preparation. She was encouraged to keep a wide perspective, including for instance, mental health. Alison will circulate as it develops and link in Brian.
  2. Young Labour/recruitment: We had a delegate, James Gill, to the Young Labour conference. A resolution was passed on Mental Health. More thoughts from the young members to be collected to discuss recruiting. Martin is trying to get a list of secretaries of Labour Students. MedSin could be a useful organisation for recruitment.
  3. NHS 70th anniversary materials: Martin had a meeting with design expert and is expecting some ideas shortly. Plans to reprint  “In Place of Fear” Designer was interested in  Socialist Health socks? Note to Jon Ashworth – what plans for 70th anniversary? A joint letter from Jon and SHA to all LP members? A note for many of us to write on the NPF website about this issue.

3. Director’s report – Martin had produced a written report which will go to the AGM.

Discussion re West Midlands and branch catchment areas generally. Tony says we don’t know which of our members are also members of the Labour Party. SHA already has delegates to all the CLPs in Wales. If we write to all members, we could ask whether they are party members? Martin creates categories of people in the database, selecting for skills. People could be filed under many categories if they have many skills. Martin will investigate the General Data Protection Regulation  rules as they apply to SHA.

At the moment, any SHA member who is a Party member can become a CLP delegate. MR will consult officers if there are more than 5 members wanting to be delegates to a CLP if they are not in a branch. Tony: Should they be mandated? He will write a discussion document for officers.

4. Labour Party matters:

  1. Follow up of Conference resolution
    Alex: composite 8 effectively proposed renationalising the NHS. Some aspects of the policy appear not to have been followed through properly. There are, for instance, no new campaign materials reflecting the new Labour Party policy as result of it. Tony: the NPF has been struck by the Composite and will be discussing it specifically in early Feb. Mike: silence is deafening from LP re Comp8. Tony: renationalizing the NHS will be expensive, eg buying out care homes to nationalise social care. Labour is in power in some areas– advice is needed for those who want and need to make decisions about local planning beyond saying no to ACOs. Local discussions may be best. A meeting will be set up to address this in Sheffield
  2. Socialist Societies
    The Democracy Review may result in better participation for SocSocs. One suggestion is for SocSocs to share administration. Alex had meeting with the Review team and he circulated the list of questions that had been raised:

These are questions which arose during an initial discussion with members of the Democracy Review.

  1. Should membership of SHA and other socialist societies be open to Labour party members only?
  2. Should block voting continue in Labour Party elections?
  3. Should socialist societies be funded by subscriptions or by the Labour Party?
  4. Can socialist societies’ representation on the NEC be justified?
  5. Should there be a Socialist Societies Forum?
  6. Should there be defined eligibility criteria for the recognition of socialist societies?
  7. How should the existence of several societies focusing on a single issue be dealt with (eg JLM, JVL; Fabians, Momentum)?
  8. Can joining socialist societies be seen as buying power?
  9. Should conference policy carry executive authority with Labour councils and councillors?
  10. How should the London-centric nature of the socialist societies executive be dealt with?
  11. How can Labour Party policy be ‘gender proofed’?
  12. How can Labour be engendered?

A long discussion suggested overall that:

  • we need to allow non-party members to be members of SHA, because they have enormous skills. But we need to find a mechanism to keep party issues only to party members. And non-LP members should not oppose LP policies.
  • The party cannot insist that there is only one SocSoc per topic or group.
  • There should be criteria that define what constitutes a SocSoc but there are many practical issues in enforcing any fixed criteria.
  1. Policy development process from here: The SHA is in conversation with the Shadow Team on policy development. The topics are confidential. Brian outlined an approach to getting the best people to discuss with the Shadow Team and this was agreed: we shall request a 100 word document from all members and the policy team will shortlist. If needed, we shall ensure that we add to that list specific skills needed. Despite concern, the need for confidentiality was agreed. A key issue is the financing streams the whole manifesto can draw on and the demands coming from the different spending departments.

6. AGM and elections Notice to go out shortly

  1. AOB
    MR asked us all to sign up to be governors of the Manchester Trust

Dave: contact LP governors and ask to them to become members of SHA
Alison: A Welsh BBC programme is looking for women with experience or information on back-street abortions.
Brian: There will be a Demo 3rd Feb responding to the Winter NHS crisis.

  1. Next meeting:  Annual General Meeting


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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.

Current members651677654672683792
Website Pages 915974101910431163
Website Posts530436112415011853
Website Comments (culmulative)22722501225728633370
Website Page Views338,415375,511410,000382,045408,288347,000
Unique Visitors131,303158,180181,281171,000204,596171,062
Followers of the blog360418
Twitter Followers (culmulative)136528454178483956876104
Tweets (culmulative)16,57812,52238,10047,70055,200
Facebook likes (culmulative)148817571975206721292349
Tweet impressions137,1800204,700322,400
Contacts database40,88842,31039,03936,29236,24235,993
Website Google Page Rank544444
Domain Authority4144
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You can review the presentations from our recent conference on public health:

We asked each speaker to propose no more than five priorities. Some of them, happily, coincided and I’ve only chosen one where their seemed to be a substantial overlap.  Prof Nazroo didn’t feel able to produce five simple proposals and Tim Lang is not yet ready to release his priorities to public scrutiny.   But we still have a lot more than five.  So you are invited to decide which are  your top five priorities.  I’m afraid I have mangled some of these ideas to get them short enough.  So these words are mostly mine, rather than those of our distinguished contributors. I apologise but that is what happens when you try and produce evidence based policies and get involved in the messy business of politics.  The subtleties get lost.

Public health priorities

  • Develop universal, comprehensive, high-quality early Childhood care and Education. (10%, 8 Votes)
  • Invest in our public health workforce (10%, 8 Votes)
  • Ensure resources for health are distributed to reduce inequalities in life chances between places. (10%, 8 Votes)
  • Move from Financial Reporting to Financial, social and environmental reporting (9%, 7 Votes)
  • Invest in local public health services (8%, 6 Votes)
  • A new public health bill to give more state power against threats to health (8%, 6 Votes)
  • Implement existing laws that protect conditions that create and protect health and fairness (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Increase the public health benefits of the social security system. (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Measure value and benefit, not just cost of sustainable interventions (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Radical overhaul of gambling regulation (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Minimum unit pricing for alcohol (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Levys on the unhealthy commodity industries (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Build an energy economy based on renewables. (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Review of the marketing of unhealthy commodities and services to children, young people and the vulnerable (4%, 3 Votes)
  • New trade agreements to protect and promote the publics health (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Devolve power – increasing the influence that the public has over how resources are used. (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Redefine community health and prosperity beyond materialism (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Invest in public transport (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Take cycling seriously. Invest in infrastructure (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Default 20mph speed limit nationally for residential streets (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Stop blaming do something about our environment so that it’s easier for us to live healthier and longer. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Better road crossing facilities – more crossings, more time (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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1 – 4 pm  at Chester Friends Meeting House

Present:  Alex Scott-Samuel (ASS), Alison Scouller (AS), Brian Gibbons (BG),  Irene Leonard (IL), John Lipetz (JL), Mike Roberts (MRo), Vivien Walsh (VW), Helen Cranage (HC),Vivien Giladi (VG) Tony Beddow (TB), David Davies (DD), Judith Varley(JV), Martin Rathfelder (MRa)  + Lesley Mahmoud, Corrie Lowry, Shaun McBride, Kathrin Thomas, Piyush Pushkar and Pauline Cutress

Apologies:  Jean Hardiman-Smith (JHS), Brian Fisher, Pater Mayer, Jos Bell, Andy Thompson, Mike Grady, Lawrence Cotter, Fiona Twycross and Caroline Walsh, David Mattocks, Rene Smit

Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Lesley Mamoud opened the meeting with a brief comprehensive overview of the current situation of the hospital and campaign and answered the questions and comments raised.  This took place first as Lesley had to leave immediately afterwards.  She left campaign literature   Further details: and the Campaign’s Response to the CCG’s review of Women’s and neo-natal services, available at http://www.labournet/other/1612/clinical(1.pdf)

In summary, comments and questions mentioned financial, delays and construction problems with the developers of the new Royal Hospital, Carillion, where some provision for maternity care would be available (although the official approach is for home births ignoring the poor CQC Report on the alternative private 1:1 home maternity service in Wirral), huge cuts at Alder Hey because of PFI debts, the national critical state of peri-natal physical and mental health, including the needs of pregnant women with more complex conditions (including women of older age).  There is talk of ‘pop-up’ maternity units – no-one knew what these might be.  Ambulance crews were not to receive extra maternity training and this would be particularly crucial in rural areas with miles of narrow winding roads to the nearest maternity units in rural areas like Cumbria and Devon /Cornwall.  Liverpool’s lord mayor, Joe Anderson and the Liverpool City Region elected mayor, Steve Rotheram, had both ignored the very successful campaign to save the Women’s Hospital.

Action 1   VG suggested Lesley wrote an article for Health Campaigns Together – about 800 words to broaden cover more widely across the country

Action 2  VG and IL proposed SHA should not just support and adopt the campaign but develop a proper SHA policy which would be relevant to maternity services in relation to STPs everywhere.  ASS, AS and JHS to develop this and report at the next SHA Council meeting

MRa said there was an SHA blog on maternity policy


Apologies:  as listed above. There were 4 SHA members present as observers: Corrie Lowry, Kathrin Thomas, Pauline Cutress  and Shaun McBride.  Members are allowed to contribute to the discussion with the permission of the Chair.

Minutes of last meeting accepted.  No amendments.  No matters arising

Labour Party matters.  Brighton Conference reports. 

Women’s Conference:   There were no official delegates from SHA as places had all been allocated before members applied.  AS reported it was the largest ever, very lively, transitional to making LP policy.  Dawn Lodge had spoken on ending poverty, sanitary products to be included at food banks, and statements on reproductive rights

Main Conference:  Alex’s (ASS) contribution was very well received.  He gave a resume of the Conference including the evening SHA fringe sessions.  Jon Ashworth had agreed the NHS is a priority issue and the STPs must be halted.  A Labour Briefing piece ‘The NHS at Conference’ is on the website and Conference motion 8 is on the KONP site and on the SHA site.  The re-instatement vote for motion 8 was unanimous and is now LP policy and amounts to a radical complete re-nationalisation.  ASS and Sue Richards contributed substantially to this debate.

Action all members:  All Labour councillors, MPs etc.. should be implementing the re-instatement of the NHS and SHA members, particularly those who are CLP delegates, are urged to remind them.  The manifesto and the NPF report referred to ‘preferred providers’ and profits, suggesting there is NOT a total provision from the public sector.  This was referred back to the Executive by conference.

Comments etc:   JL thanked ASS for his contribution to Conference, for returning SHA to socialist values, and asked that this should be minuted.  VW added her congratulations.

IL spoke of the book ‘The NHS plot’ which highlights the extensive collusion underway with privatisation.  Re-instatement: So far, only 30 English / Welsh MPs but all Scottish MPs had signed up to the online NHS takeback pledge.   VG commented that we must not despair as many employees are forced to implement policies with which they disagree

Young Labour    There had been attempts to recruit medical students.  ASS said it was a matter of raising awareness and this could be best done whilst teaching

Action:   Shaun McBride (SM) suggested seeking SHA recruits amongst nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, podiatrists, lab workers, paramedics, social workers – anyone working in health – and was keen to support local campaigns.  MRo said the Peoples’ Assembly had many members and we could liaise with them.  DD said the videos from the Labour Party Conference had been seen by millions and we needed to make better use of social media especially through medical and health related students and student unions

Democracy Review   MR referred to Katy Clark’s work on the Democracy Review, particularly to elements concerning Women’s Conference, BAME, Young People and Electing the Leader.  There was an expressed desire to meet with all the societies – but uncertainty whether this meant societies together or separately.  Malcolm Powers had suggested we need to unpick our affiliation to be like the trade unions.  It was agreed that SHA should have position statements on each element of the review.  DD commented on the leadership of the Review and wondered if it might lead to a battle for the ideology of the Labour Party.  AS said that 1 member 1 vote had already been rejected in Wales

Action:  VG suggested a separate meeting on policy review so SHA is properly recognised and this was agreed.   IL had attended the NW Conference in Blackpool and noted SHA was not represented; it too was the largest conference to date.  The NHS briefing was disappointing, with Trades Union delegates seemingly unsure what they were doing there, tho’ they were supposed to feed into the Democracy Review.  She liked Katy Clark who seemed keen to talk with everyone.  There was surprise at our meeting that Trades Unions were not particularly interested and it was suggested it would be useful if national and regional reps could provide some detailed information on the issues

Action MRa:  ASS proposed all members should participate.  MRa was asked to send a newsletter to all members, with dead-lines, a sensible timeframe and with some suggestions to help focus ideas.

Visit to NHS England  Brian Fisher and ASS (representing SHA) had been invited to Skipton House to meet NHS-England – the particular individual they met was Simon Stevens’ Director of Communications.  Simon Stevens had until 2005 been a member of SHA and was previously a Labour Councillor in Brixton.  Alex left some SHA application forms there.  Generally it was thought this was probably a fishing expedition for NHSE.  Alex and Brian are due to meet Jon Ashworth and JL urged Alex to be firm with him about dumping the STPs, and to have proper funding for health so England met N European standards.

Director’s Report   MRa reported 68 new members since June.  Up to 5 SHA delegates could be appointed to each CLP and to attempt balance re gender, ethnicity etc.. if more than 5 were keen to be delegates.  MRa said marches were less effective than local campaigns to save particular hospitals /services.

Next year’s public demos, the 70th birthday of the NHS.  A big march in London in March was less popular  than a July event since it demanded time and energy and perhaps used resources which would be better spent in July.  MRa suggested reprinting Nye Bevan’s essay on the NHS, and that was approved.  The newspaper Health Campaigns Together (HCT) was supporting another Spring demo in central London and an event to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS.  Both KONP (non-political) and HCT (political) produced some excellent campaign materials, all freely available to us.   MRa spoke on campaigning in marginal constituencies.  His lodger (a professional campaign manager) had suggested adopting 2 themes and targeting marginals in the Midlands.

Action  MRa to explore further and circulate some more developed concepts.

Health Policy Recommendations – Summary

  • End privatisation. JL asked if ‘planning’ could replace ‘commissioning’ throughout the document as it was essential for democratic and accountable planning in all aspects of health, and it was necessary to re-build socially cohesive communities.  ASS reminded us that discussion should be in a comradely fashion even when it inevitably becomes heated.   Brian Fisher, Tony Jewell and everyone who had contributed to the Report were thanked for their considerable work.
  • Primary and Community Care. JL stated public dental provision needs to be increased; it was becoming ever more difficult to access as privatisation progressed.  There was concern that Boots and SuperDrug were destroying small pharmacies too and that the independent contractor status of GPs was also threatened.  BG registered his concerns about growing inequalities in all aspects of health.  He asked for the Inverse Care Law to be acknowledged.
  • Mental Health needs attention particularly. The 5YFV has a section which no-one at the meeting had read.

Action  JV and all to read and comment next meeting

Local Branch Reports.  ASS asked for agreement on the notice required – 4 weeks for an AGM and 2 weeks for normal meetings.  JV gave a brief report of the successful meeting of the Liverpool City Region group in October.  Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston gave us an excellent summary of the most recent political developments and a lively Q and A followed.  The meeting had been widely advertised and attracted about 40 attendees including Councillors from North and South of the Mersey.  It was our first public meeting.

There was a brief discussion on marketing promotional products to supplement the tee-shirts

There was no other business

Next meeting will be 13 Jan in Sheffield

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PresentHelen Cranage, David Davies, Brian Fisher, Tom Fitzgerald, Vivien Giladi, James Gill, Tony Jewell, Sina Lari, Irene Leonard, John Lipetz,  Mike Roberts,  Alex Scott-Samuel, Alison Scouller, Rene Smit, Judith Varley, Vivien Walsh, Neil Nerva, Doug Naysmith, Jean Hardiman Smith

In attendance: Martin Rathfelder,  Adrian Heald

Apologies: Steve Bedser, Dr Peter Mayer, Dr Brian Gibbons, David Mattocks, Fiona Twycross, Guy Collis, Tony Beddow, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, David Taylor-Gooby, Mike Grady, Lawrence Cotter, Brian Fisher

  1. Minutes of the meeting 17th June 2017 were agreed
  2. Matters arising:

Campaigns in marginal constituencies: There was a general consensus around acquiring a list of marginals to examine setting up campaigns/supporting organisations like HCT and KONP in these areas. They had been very successful campaigning for the NHS in marginal seats.

  1. Reports:
  1. Chair  Alex Scott- Samuel reported that our membership is increasing, and that at Conference we are looking forward to health having a higher profile. He was confident the SHA motion on the NHS will be well placed. Alex is presenting the motion to conference, seconded by Professor Sue Richards.
  2. Secretary   Jean Hardiman Smith reported on the success of the SHA Women in submitting statements on policy for the NPF policy commissions. Our statements will be considered as part of their work on future policy documents. We were only allocated 100 words per topic area, and inputted on both Health and Social Care. Our statements can be seen at the back of the Women’s Conference guide. We intend to build on this work to support policies for women’s issues. Next steps: Disabled, BAME and LGBT topic areas and contacts must be built up for the SHA. It was formally proposed and seconded that the SHA support the Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital, to include both services and the site. Martin R to formally convey our decision.
  3. Director Martin Rathfelder

Recruitment material: We have almost exhausted our stock of T-Shirts and they are difficult to carry to events. Should we consider smaller recruitment materials, for example iron on logos, wrist bands, badges, ties, pens etc? Our leaflets need updating and a new strap line considered to market the SHA for a new era. Martin advised that our banner is taken to events including to HCT meetings. We have a banner and 4 flags.

Banking: The banking signatories have been changed and all is proceeding smoothly now.

We were told we could send delegates to the Women’s Conference, and then told there was no room.  We are sending a delegate – James Gill – to the Youth conference.  We thought we could send only one delegate to a CLP, but it would appear the rules say we can send 5, as can all Socialist Societies. A delegate has to be accepted 60 days before they can vote, to include paying, currently £6.00. Alex suggested involving regional office.

The Campaign to Save Labour has disbanded and donated £1,000.00 to us.

4. Reports: 

David Davies reported for Wales on the sharing of patient information. He advised us that if you have given your consent in Wales then records can be widely accessed, and that pharmacists will also be able to see it.

Vivien Giladi reported for Health Campaigns Together that HCT goes from strength to strength, and is a very strong national organisation. She emphasised the national Conference on the 4th November at Hammersmith Town Hall, hoping we will all attend as it will be inspirational. HCT is good at campaigning and strong on policy, and KONP groups are gathering empirical evidence.

5. Policy proposals;

Alex S-S (chair) advised that Brian Fisher (Vice President) has had to give his apologies. All 8 Policy Papers can be seen on the SHA website and Martin R has both 2 and 4-page versions for use during the Conference.

Central Council formally thanked Brian for his contribution.

At present we are at the stage where we have a “Green Paper” summarising the stage of our deliberations. After a long discussion no decisions were reached, though the “Green Paper “seemed an acceptable descriptive umbrella until decisions were made. It was clarified that the AGM could overturn any decision by Central Council.

6: Future events

Summit/meeting on children’s mental health at the House of Commons – a feasibility study by the Secretary to report to CC. (Jean H-Smith (Hon Sec); Judith Varley; Sina Lari; Tom Fitzgerald; (Treasurer); Irene Leonard)

Public Health: Conference 23rd November 2017.  Public Health Priorities for Government. There was a discussion on potential charges, and it was agreed further discussion was needed, and as soon as charges were agreed that we would advertise;

Accountable Care Systems Conference 25th November in Manchester

There was a long discussion on these organisations. It was agreed that the SHA should support councils to object. The Tories version is not what we want.

7: Labour Party matters;

Chair: It is the Labour Party Conference tomorrow, and our motion is going forward for debate. 10 other CLPs submitted, and if high enough in the priorities it will go to the Compositing meeting on Sunday evening. The chair also mentioned a number of marches and rallies, campaigns and our fringes. Our rule change had gone to the NEC, but they recommended remission. Alison Scouller (Vice chair) added that they are looking at a whole package of reforms. There will be a commission/enquiry into Labour Party democracy, and we took this into account in agreeing remission.

Socialist Societies cannot send anyone to regional conferences without paying the usual several hundred pounds fees. We are not like Trade Unions with good funding.  We could raise this issue with the commission.

Next meeting 18th November  Chester Quaker Meeting House

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