David Amos

David Amos

I have worked and campaigned for the NHS for 25 years – as an NHS manager, HR director of two teaching hospitals and as deputy HR director for the English NHS leading the growth in the workforce and supporting massive improvements in both quality and access.   I led the setting up of a trade union for healthcare managers, affiliated to the TUC, with the support of Unison and the FDA, which now has over 6,000 members.  I was national chair from 2005-2012, and have just been re-elected to the national committee.

The role of the SHA must be to develop health and social care policies which are consistent with our fundamental objectives as Labour party members.  Our central purpose is to be a significant influence on the policy of the Labour Party to promote free at the comprehensive free at the point of use healthcare.   The SHA also needs to be flexible enough to be able to initiate policy ideas and respond to the ever-changing health and social care environment between formal meetings.   Our elected representatives and director need to be supported in this and held to account accordingly.  The SHA should recognise that the more time we spend on running our governance is at the expense of dedicating time to defend, protect and advance the benefits of the NHS and making social care affordable and accessible.

We should be motivated to work together to discuss and develop policy drawing on our members’ knowledge and experience.  We are all members of the Labour Party and this commitment acknowledges that there will often be differences of opinion about what are the best next steps.   However, what unites us (especially now) is our total dedication to the preservation of the best of the NHS and coming up with ideas to make it achieve greater equity and face up to the growing clinical demands of the population.   The SHA is performing best when we are initiating debate, being influential, engaging with those leading the NHS, and being the place that those wrestling with the future of the NHS and social care come to for advice and guidance.   We can debate issues openly amongst ourselves and respect each other even when we disagree on specific policy matters, knowing that we are in the same political party.

Of course our role is to define an ideal NHS, but more importantly to argue for one which is attainable.   We have all learnt from being in Government for 13 years – and in particular how we might have done things differently with regard to the NHS.   However, the Labour Government from 1997 to 2010 did manage to persuade the population to accept an increase in taxes to improve the quality and accessibility of the NHS – after decades of under-investment and acceptance of poor standards.   The SHA is in a position to come up with ideas and campaigning positions to improve the NHS and social care.

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