Comrades

I wish to be considered for election to the Central Committee of the SHA where I would hope to bring a perspective from the south of England where I am an elected Councillor and – for the past 5 years – lead cabinet member for health at Southampton City Council. In this role I also sit on a number of local NHS boards and I chair the City’s Health & Wellbeing Board.

The future of our precious health and social care system is under pressure like at no time before and the very essence of our NHS is threatened by a toxic mix of government austerity and an overriding ideological commitment to the role of the private sector.

Of course additional money for our NHS is critical and I would argue that this should by 12% of GDP. However we need to go further in addressing the crises affecting primary care (especially GPs), social care and public health where solutions are required that go beyond more cash.

We need to build on Labour’s bold ideas for a National Care System and involve local government in putting more flesh on the bones. How, for example, can we move away from means-tested adult social care and where would the funding for this be sourced?

We need to be a lot clearer on how we make publicly funded health and care services more accountable at a local and – in England – a regional level. Where should the NHS and social care fit within devolved government?

We need to have that conversation with a public which rightly demands and expects world class care about how this should be paid for and we need to ensure that Labour’s front bench treasury team have the fiscal strategy capable of delivering not just here but a whole range of other important public services – schools, transport, housing etc. which are equally important to the public’s general health and wellbeing.

This won’t happen overnight; so we need a coherent long term strategy for a socialist transformation and sustainability plan for our NHS. I would argue that the first priorities for the incoming Labour Government must be to:

  1. focus on reducing health inequalities
  2. target new investment in universal preventative services
  3. place health and wellbeing outcomes at the heart of all council and government policies

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