Loading Map....

Date(s) - 29.09.2012


Manchester Quaker Meeting House


Agenda for Socialist Health Association Central Council 29th September 2012
 With Lord Phil Hunt
Apologies:  Jane Roberts, John Lipetz, Chis Bain, Mike Young, Hilda Jack, Tina Funnell, Hannah Cooke, Gavin & Rosemary Ross, Patrick Vernon, Jos Bell, David Mattocks, Joe, David Pickersgill,  Mike Grady, Tom Fitzgerald
  1. Minutes of the meeting in July (below)
  2. Matters arising if not on the agenda
  3. Improving the Health of the Nation
  4. Proposals for change to the NPF process – the Policy Hub
  5. Policy development with the Labour Party
  6. Demonstrations – 30th  September, 20th October, and campaigning generally
  7. Our programme of events – NHS for beginners
  8. Website development
  9. Experience of NHS reorganisation so far
  10. Arrangements during party conference
  11. Next meeting:  Saturday 12th January  Pimlico Library
  12. Any other business

Minutes of the previous meeting

7th July at Bunhill Fields Meeting House
Apologies: Mike Young. Peter Mayer, Rachel Harris, Tina Funnell, Joe, Doug Naysmith, Mike Grady, David Mattocks, Nye Harries, David Pickersgill, Mike Young, Rehana Azam, Stephen Adshead, Jos Bell, Patrick Vernon, Simon Wright, Chris Bain.
Present: Brian Fisher(Chair); Martin Rathfelder(MR); Gavin Ross; Jane Roberts; John Lipetz; Vivien Giladi (VG); Melanie Johnson; Mike Roberts; Barrie Brown; Tony Beddow;  Noemi Fabry; Huw Davies, Richard Grimes

Labour Party Policy:

MR talked about the NPF process and the direction that Labour health policy is moving: said that Andy Burnham was keen to talk about mental health and long term conditions and to break down the bvarriers between the services for physical health, mental health abnd social care. It is not clear yet what “integration” means. MR said that with policy document will go to conference, and until then it will not be clear how the policy will be developed further.JL initiated a discussion about putting health services under local authority control, MR said that this was SHA policy but HWB would beed to be “beefed up” to achieve this, buit pointed out that national politicians were worried about losing the N in NHS.MJ pointed out that the policy document did not address “health”.  A health policy document should cover food, transport, housing, planning, etc and to develop such a policy would involve the Labour policy leads in each area.

Agreed that Tony Beddow, Melanie Johnson and Jane Roberts would draft a short (two page?) document for submission after circulation and comment. Tony Beddow argued that it should look at bigger picture not just health services.

SHA should contact Jon Cruddas. Discussion on tactics of making SHA voice heard.


The Chair raised the issue of post NHS reform campaigning. There was a need to bring together key groups such as KONP, Unions, 38⁰,False Economy, UK Uncut and others and to work with think tanks.

Martin Rathfelder was proposing a meeting with Tom Watson and Margaret Heffernan.

The emphasis of the campaign should be to protect the NHS and patients and to lay catastrophes at Cameron’s door. Jane Roberts was in favour of negative campaigning if it was effective.

MR talked of need to educate councillors in their new roles. VG raised the issue of Health and Well Being Boards and how members could operate in these.

John Lipetz brought up a statement by KONP which was noted by Central Council.

There was general agreement that campaigning should be reactive to reform consequences but should also be looking to the future. Ideas need to get to the shadow health team.


MR gave a tour of the new website and highlighted some of its functionalities. He retained editorial and moderation rights.


  1. John Lipetz says:

    We need a strong statement from labour at the conference and subsequently 1. that they will repeal the H &SC Act and 2. That they will make strong statements regularly criticising the actions of the govt about the continuing and speedy introduction of privatisation and dismantling of and cuts to our NHS. We need a publicly funded (avoiding the need for people to pay for services being now restricted), publicly provided (there are examples of privatisation going on apace across the country) and publicly accountable (the Secy of State has handed over responsibility to the National Commissioning Board) health service. Only the labour leadership can do this against the drive taken by the other Hunt (C***!). The meeting needs to make this clear. Lord Hunt, at our recent meeting with him acknowledged that labour had made mistakes in the past. They need to find legal ways to make a repeal effective and also how to deal with the costly PFIs. Sorry I will be absent but I hope members will take this line.

  2. joe says:

    We need to ensure that we don’t argue – or give that impression – for another destabilising reorganisation, and that we have a positive offer for the future rather than a return to 2010 or 1997 or 1989. There is no future, policy-wise or politically, for an ‘anti-reform’ position. Therefore “Repeal” should not be our top line. Ed is right about this.

    1. Tom says:

      I’m fed up with Patricians, in the Westminster Policy bubble, treating ordinary people like “plebs” & telling us that we cannot disagree with them. It is particularly galling when people in the Labour movement adopt this attitude towards the rest of us. I’m sorry but we are just as good as you are.

      The Labour Party is supposed to be a democratic socialist party. Democratic means ordinary people having a voice, even if they don’t agree with the leadership. Democratic also means the consensus view being accepted. Socialist means committed to common ownership rather than Neoliberalism. The Labour Party used to be an organisation committed to defending the interests of the poor, not a vehicle for aspiring career politicians. Seriously, if people embrace free markets, privatisation & co-payments, whilst rejecting Socialism, why did they ever join the Labour Party?

      The founders of the Labour movement would be turning in their graves if they knew the Labour Party was endorsing Serco, Capita, G4S & Virgin taking over public services. These corporations will generate profits at the expense of workers, patients & the taxpayer. The Socialist Medical Association was instrumental in getting healthcare nationalised. It is shameful that the SHA website carries articles defending privatisation & PFI. The SHA used to be committed to “Voice not choice”. Now, the website carried articles defending A&E closures, despite universal local opposition, and links to right-wing, pro-market think tanks.

  3. socadmin says:

    I don’t see anyone embracing free markets, privatisation or copayments here. To say we don’t want to see more reorganisation is not to say we have to embrace these things. We need to work out how we can get from where we will be in 2015 to where we want to be.

  4. Tom says:

    Sorry Martin but that is nonsense.
    Let’s just be clear. The grassroots within the Labour movement oppose privatisation. They opposed privatisation under New Labour & they oppose it under the Coalition. The Labour leadership have used all the tricks in the book to stifle opponents of privatisation. They are quite happy to opportunistically oppose privatisation locally, for the purposes of electoral expediency. Yet they refuse to reverse these changes.

    The arguments against repealing the Coalitions legislation are so feeble they are laughable. First, we get the lame argument that there has always been private provision, so its really not worth opposing further privatisation. Sorry, but the vast majority of health professionals & support staff are NOT GP subcontractors, so that argument doesn’t stand up. The article about the “myths of privatisation & PFI” suggests that renationalisation would involve a “culture change” within the NHS. This article was clearly written by someone who has never had any contact with frontline health professionals. I find it gratuitously offensive when phoney career politicians proclaim their respect for those in the emergency services whilst treating them with such arrogant contempt. Pretending that hospital doctors & nurses wouldn’t adapt to the “culture shock” of renationalisation takes the biscuit. Oh yes, then we get the “we wouldn’t want to reverse the privatisation because it would result in a reorganisation” must be the most ridiculous logic I have ever heard.

    The NHS budget is £120 Billion. The private sector sees this as profit. When privatisation began, under New Labour, people were denied life-enhancing treatments, whilst the corporations & banks behind ISTCs, PFIs & LIFTs were making millions. How can it be just that companies, registered in off-shore tax havens, make vast profits when folk who’ve paid Tax & NI subs, all their lives, get denied hernia repair, joint replacement, cataract treatment & ENT surgery. Isn’t it a bit rich for New Labour, who used Jennifers’ Ear in their 1997 election campaign, to deny kids grommet surgery?

    Under New Labour, large numbers of low-paid NHS staff ended up losing their jobs, with the lucky ones becoming even lower-paid staff for large outsource companies. They lost their NHS Pensions & T&Cs. Despite the NHSPS having a surplus, pensions are being cut to, in the words of Danny Alexander, make the NHS more attractive to commercial providers. So, corporations will generate profits through employing fewer staff, on lower pay, with worse T&Cs & much-reduced pensions. This is a disgrace.

    My taxes, and my parents taxes, paid, in part, for the NHS. It’s our NHS. Career politicians have no right to flog it off to their corporate cronies. Nobody is calling for the end of Capitalism. Nobody is calling for the Royal Family to be lynched. People just want the Labour Party to stop colluding with big business & start listening to the grassroots.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 828 other subscribers.

Follow us on Twitter