25th Anniversary Commemoration Brochure

SHA policy

THE FRONT COVER DESIGN is from the bronze statue by GIULIO MONTEVERDE “JENNER’S FIRST VACCINATION, MAY 16TH, 1796” in the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, London.

. . . from The President of the SMA DR. DAVID STARK MURRAY, B.Sc., M.B. Ch.B.

David Stark Murray

IN its quarter century of life the Socialist Medical Association has seen the realisa­tion at least in part, of some of its principal aims. In sending my greetings to the readers of this brochure on the occasion of the SMA’s 25th birthday, may I remind you all that the good beginnings of the National Health Service have yet to be translated into a complete and compre­hensive health service which will bring into being a healthier and happier Britain. You can bring that nearer by your support of the SMA and of its efforts to produce a better health service.


. . . from THE RT. HON. EARL ATTLEE, O.M., C.H.


THE publication of the Guillebaud  Report is a great vindication: of the policy of the Labour Government in creating the National Health Service. The Socialist Medical Association is entitled to a full share of the credit for this achievement. Its pioneer work was invaluable.


from the Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, THE RT. HON. HUGH GAITSKELL, M.P.


GREETINGS and good wishes on your 25th anniversary! I am glad to have the opportunity on this happy occasion of paying a tribute to the valuable services rendered by the Socialist Medical Associa­tion to the Labour Party in this last quarter of a century.

You were prominent among the pioneers who pressed for a National Health Service, and your advice, based on long practical experience, was invaluable to the Labour Government when the Service came to be created.

It must be a matter of great satisfaction to you, as it is to the Labour Party, that, despite all the prejudice the Service had to face, it has emerged with such credit from the recent official inquiry.

In so many ways—on the various Health Committees and Hospital Management Boards—your members, despite the very heavy demands of their calling, continue to make, day by day, enlightened and effective contributions to the welfare of the nation.

We in the Labour Party will face future problems in the field of health encouraged by the knowledge that we can continue to rely on your special experience to help us.

Many happy returns!


. . .from MR. SOMERVILLE HASTINGS, M.S., F.R.C.S., M.P., L.C.C. Past President of the S.M.A.

TOURING its short life the Socialist Medical Association can claim a fine record of service to the community. Most of what is best in our present National Health Service has resulted from its planning, research and propaganda. But the victory is not yet won and there are many rivers to be crossed before we can achieve the truly preventive Health Service that is essential for a full, happy and healthy life for all.

. . . from MR. GEORGE BLACK, F.R.C.S.

THE Socialist Medical Association deserves praise for the part it played in the foundation of the National Health Service. The task now is to improve and extend the service. This means an increase in the total number of beds, the segregation of special departments such as neuro­surgery, nose and throat surgery and ophthalmic surgery without isolation from all the facilities of the General Hospital, an increase in full-time consultant staff and the encouragement of all members of the Hospital Staff to take part in research.


I AM pleased to have the opportunity of joining in congratulations and tribute to the Socialist Medical Association on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

It is appropriate that these should contain an element of high appre­ciation for the work and purpose of the Association which has done so much for the Labour Movement in the sphere of medicine and social service. Whilst laymen play an important part in social advance, it is necessary that their policies and actions should be based on competent advice and guidance. Fortunately, the Socialist Medical Association has always enjoyed the participation of adherents qualified in their profession and willing to devote their time and talents to the public good. This level of quality and service are of great importance especially in directing political thought along the lines of progress and social advance in the sphere of medicine.

I congratulate the Association on the occasion of its birthday and look forward to the continuing beneficent influence of its work.


Greetings From Members To All Our Readers on the occasion of our Twenty-fifth Birthday.

  • Mr. T. C. Thomas, M.P.S
  • Dr. N. F. Coghill
  • Dr. E. E. Feldmesser-Reis
  • Mr. H Daile, F.B.O.A
  • Dr. R. J. R. Mecredy
  •  Dr. Leslie Walsh
  • Dr. Ida Fisher
  • Dr. Michael Fisher
  •  Dr. A. Rapoport
  •  Dr. T. D. Culbert
  • Dr. H. W. Swann
  • Dr. O. Watts Tobin
  • Dr. L. J. Ison
  • Mrs. Eleanora Martin
  • Dr. D. E. Bunbury
  • Dr. L. T. Hilliard
  • The Ophthalmic Group of the SMA
  • The Leeds Branch of the SMA
  • The General Practitioners’ Group of the SMA

The Past. . .

A great social service such as the National Health Service can never be the work of one man and seldom even attributable to one organisation. The Health Service was, of course, a child of the Labour Movement as a whole, but its conception and theoretical development was largely the work of the Socialist Medical Association. Never has an organisation been formed, clarified its policy, persuaded a majority party to accept it, seen it translated into legislation and been ready and able to advise on its second phase of development all in twenty-five years.

That is the unique record of the SMA. Before its formation many individuals, including Sidney Webb, as early as 1907, had advocated a form of health service, but the ideas lacked form and cohesion and lacked, above all, a group of pioneers ready and able to crystallise the need, to start to elaborate a programme and to do all the work of propaganda by writing, speaking and debating that is needed to convince a majority.

Formed in late 1930 on the instigation of Dr. Charles Brook, and led by its two Presidents, first the untiring Somerville Hastings, F.R.C.S., now M.P., and then Dr. David Stark Murray, whose energy is inexhaust­ible, the first true programme for “A Socialised Health Service” was published and affiliation to the Labour Movement had been achieved by 1933. In 1934 the Annual Conference of the Labour Party accepted a resolution that a health service should be a part of the immediate programme when next the Party had power. By 1939 the public was rapidly becoming convinced that a change in medical organisation was due, and the need for a State-organised emergency medical service for war purposes kept the subject fresh. When the B.M.A. Medical Planning Commission, and later the Beveridge Report, largely adopted the SMA’s views, all that was needed was the opportunity.

This came in 1945 and the National Health Service was indeed one of Labour’s first major enactments and one of its greatest triumphs. The principles advocated by the SMA were largely accepted and Britain had a service universally available and free at the time of use. Com­promises with reactionary forces and a lack of understanding of all the basic principles, such as that of a whole-time salaried service, and a failure to push ahead with necessary modernisation, especially health centres, produced weaknesses and created flaws, but, on the whole, it was, and is, a service of which the SMA and the Labour Party can be justly proud.

and . . .

The Future . . .


The tremendous leeway from the poor-law past has to be made up and there must be extensions of the service in the realms of research, occupational health services, and in many other directions. Loyalty to socialist principles has gained the Socialist Medical Association the esteem, high regard and comradeship of the entire Labour Movement— as this brochure shows. The following are a few of the steps which need to be taken to achieve the final goal.

The scope for the PROMOTION OF GOOD HEALTH is limitless. The introduction of the National Health Service is but the beginning of the chapter if we are to achieve a truly healthy nation.

THE PREVENTION OF ILL-HEALTH can be effected only by measures which require the collective and co-operative efforts of local authorities, government departments, health workers and an informed public. Inadequate HOUSING, resulting in dark, damp, badly ventilated rooms, overcrowding, out-of-date hygiene and lack of proper sewage, atmospheric pollution by smoke and sulphur oxides borne by dust-laden fogs take their toll of human lives.

The negative approach to the treatment of ill-health should be replaced by a positive attack on the major preventible social diseases, especially of the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and rheumatism. Three days of “smog” last winter killed 1,000 people in the London area alone and chronic bronchitis costs the nation 26 ½ million days’ illness every year. This is only one example of the suffering and waste of human happiness and effort caused by diseases which can and should be prevented.

The introduction of an OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE as a complement to the N.H.S. is an essential next step in the promotion of good health for Britain. Strict enforcement of safety regulations in industry cannot be too strongly emphasised as being vital in the campaign for the prevention of ill-health.

DUST DISEASES ARE PREVENTIBLE. The workers in every industry risk disability from dust, which is one of the causes of cancer of the lung, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, silicosis and pneumo­coniosis, and fibrosis of the lung, which are all preventible diseases. Bronchitis also damages the lungs and aggravates the danger of pneumonia and influenza. The continued existence of dust in our factories and workshops is the greatest industrial scandal of our time. Smog and atmospheric pollution are also preventible.

RESETTLEMENT of the DISABLED is at present an aspiration only. The resettlement of the disabled of industry and of war is a matter of political shuffling. Remploy Factories are being closed or poorly financed as they are non-profitable undertakings and because of prejudice and mistrust. Rehabilitation and resettlement should begin as soon as the patient begins to be treated. When he leaves hospital, Health Centres are essential for his medical follow up. The Trade Unions and Trades Councils should play an active and not merely advisory role in his indus­trial resettlement.

THE GENERAL PRACTITIONER SERVICE IS STILL COM­PETITIVE. No collaboration exists with dentists, nurses, physio­therapists, chiropodists, opticians, pharmacists and preventive health workers, and the maintenance of good health is not encouraged. Health Centres are the only remedy for this state of affairs. They can be the essential basis for great advances towards a healthy nation but work in them must be based on team spirit and the absence of economic competi­tion between doctors.

A nation-wide plan is needed to develop our HOSPITALS, including the building of new hospitals in re-development areas and new towns. No major hospital has been built in Britain since 1938. Even now the better use of existing beds and the abolition of pay-beds would go far to reduce the waiting lists of half-a-million people.

As in Scotland, the Teaching Hospitals in England and Wales must come under the Regional Hospital Boards and directly elected repre­sentatives of the people must be responsible for the manning of the Regional Hospital Boards, Hospital Management Committees and Local Executive Committees.

Shortages in NURSING STAFF cause serious shortcomings in the care and welfare of patients, particularly in the tubercular, mental, chronic sick and geriatric fields. Urgent reforms to make nursing at least as attractive as other occupations must be put into effect.

CONVALESCENT FACILITIES must be extensively re-organised to provide the widespread establishment of rest and recuperative hostels and centres, and the provision during illness and rehabilitation of adequate funds to the sick person and dependants to prevent hardship and any lowering of living standards.

The care of the CHRONIC SICK, THE AGED AND INFIRM is an increasing problem requiring co-operation from the health and welfare services. Geriatric departments in all general hospitals, hostels, home helps, meals on wheels, can help to give these people security and some degree of happiness.

More than 40 per cent, of hospital beds are for the MENTALLY ILL AND MENTALLY BACKWARD. New, smaller, hospitals are needed, but more important is the provision of more fully staffed out-patient clinics so that admission to hospital can be avoided. We consider that all children, irrespective of their intelligence, are entitled to welfare services and education according to their needs. The lack of provision of enough special schools and occupation centres is a national scandal.

In spite of the reduction in the death rate from tuberculosis, thanks to more modern diagnostic and treatment facilities being available throughout the country (as a result of the Socialist Medical Association  Anti-TB campaign), TUBERCULOSIS remains a killer. Chest clinics require modernising, re-adapting and re-equipping, and adequate staff made available. Night sanatoria, hostels and beds in general, fever and teaching hospitals are imperative needs. Encouragement of B.C.G. vaccination and mass X-ray examinations are some of the measures re­quired to justify the SMA prediction that tuberculosis can be wiped out in Britain in a generation. In certain areas waiting lists for hospital beds have been wiped out as a result of the national campaign. These beds should not be closed, but used for the investigation and treatment of bronchitis and asthma, cancer and industrial diseases of the lung.

There should be a UNIFIED OBSTETRIC SERVICE, obstetricians, G.P.s and midwives working together in ante-natal clinics in the Health Centre and at home and in the hospital. The aim should be for all women to bear children painlessly. CHILD HEALTH SERVICES must be co-ordinated.

The SMA reaffirms its belief in the nationalisation of the CHEMICAL, DRUG AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES. Rivalry in advertising and rivalry in research indulged in by private firms engaged in the provision of these commodities adds thousands of pounds a year to the costs of the health services.

The Pharmaceutical Service does not possess a responsible Trials or Standards Board to determine quality, efficacy and standards of the pro­ducts and, therefore, it cannot prevent the marketing of spurious patent medicines and of false and pernicious advertising. The local OPHTHAL­MIC SERVICE must be a permanent feature of the National Health Service. A comprehensive CHIROPODIAL SERVICE must be intro­duced.

HEALTH SERVICE ADMINISTRATION needs to be further unified and reformed to allow for local government elections to the Regional Hospital Boards and Hospital Management Committees, but close liaison is possible between the three sections today.




Registered Office: 1 RUSHFORD AVENUE. MANCHESTER 19.

General Secretary: J. T. WAITE.

Telephone: RUS. 4722/5976.

The only TRADE UNION catering exclusively for nurses,  health workers, hospital workers


Membership of the Socialist Medical Association

Full membership is open to all health workers,

Minimum Annual Subscriptions are as follows:
Doctors, Dentists, Veterinary Surgeons, Opticians and Dentists qualified for three years or more: £2 0s.0d.
All other full Members £1 0s.0d.

Student Members

7s. 6d.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP is open to all non-health workers,

Minimum Annual Subscription is 5s. 0d, a year or 10s. If the Association’s journal, Medicine Today and Tomorrow is supplied

ASSOCIATE ORGANISATIONS: All organisations, local or national, who support the aims of the SMA should associate to the SMA,

Minimum Annual Association  Fee   £1 0s.0d.

National Organisations £5 0s.0d.

Medicine Today and Tomorrow

Every active and progressive organisation needs a bulletin or journal. The Socialist Medical Association has been fortunate in finding amongst its membership those who would and could give the time required to the production of its bi-monthly journal. This now combines a bulletin which deals with the purely internal affairs of the Association and a more general magazine on medico-political matters. Medicine Today and Tomorrow was first published in 1937 under the editorship of Dr. David Stark Murray, who still remains in the Editor’s chair. Apart from being sent to the membership of the Association, Medicine Today and Tomorrow circulates to its own subscribers, who come from as far apart as China and New York, South Africa and Moscow. University Libraries, both inside and outside the English-speaking world, display the journal.

After one year as a monthly publication it became obvious that the heavy capital required for publishing both the journal and the other publications of the SMA would be a drain on its resources and it was decided to create a company, which took the form of a friendly society— Today and Tomorrow Publications, Ltd., a non-profit making company raising separate capital, issuing shares and existing as an entity separate from the Association. The SMA has always, however, held a majority of shares, so that, while the company is not directly under the control of the Executive of the SMA, the SMA members have a direct control over the resources and functioning of the company. At the same time the limited resources of the Socialist Medical Association are not im­perilled by the demands of capital for publishing.

A wide range of expert articles have appeared and continue to appear in Medicine Today and Tomorrow. For instance, the March-April, 1956, edition included an article on the Guillebaud Committee. There have been articles about the health services of many other countries, on the ways in which Trade Unions and the Labour Movement generally can assist in improving the Health Service, on the perils of atmospheric pollution and many other subjects of interest to the professional members and laymen alike.

Medicine Today and Tomorrow appears six times a year. Single copies cost 9d. (plus postage) and the annual subscription is 5s. per annum.


Into the office of the Socialist Medical Association, by letter, by telephone and by personal visit, come queries of every sort about the functioning of the National Health Service and the availability of various benefits under it.

Many of these enquiries concern one individual, some of them many working in one industry, but they all receive attention from the SMA and from them, and from their own day-to-day experience of the Health Service, the members see and discuss the inadequacies that still exist in the service.

This continuous effort is in the interests of everyone

and it needs the widespread support of every individual and organisation interested in promoting the health of the people.

May I appeal to all who read this brochure to give their support to the Socialist Medical Association by joining the organisation, by raising the question of association in organisations to which they belong, and by giving generously to the Socialist Medical Association’s 25th Anniver­sary Fund which is launched by the publication of this brochure.

AUDREY JUPP, General Secretary.

Cuts in Government Spending

A Clean Bill of Health

“The N.H.S. record has been one of real and constructive achievement … far from offering scope for economy, the Service should have more money spent on it.”—Report of the Committee of Enquiry.

The National Health Service scheme

For a decade of work is commended;

No reckless, extravagant dream,

But a valued bequest from the Labour regime,

Whose usefulness should be extended.

The wisest investment of national wealth

Is protection of national health.

These words give the Tories small cheer—

State medicine to them is distasteful—

And it would have rejoiced them to hear

The Service had earned condemnation severe,

As mismanaged, redundant and wasteful.

A Socialist error, unfit to survive

The Treasury’s economy drive.

But though Labour’s Health Service plan

Has won such immense popularity,

Not even Conservatives can

Return to the days when free hospitals ran

On a mixture of faith, hope and charity.

The cost of the national medical bill

Is the Government’s bitterest pill.

For under Conservative care,

The State’s in a desperate condition;

Retrenchment is now in the air,

And the nation’s Health Service for cuts must prepare,

Prescribed by the Treasury physician.

The Tories remark with concern and dismay,

State Health isn’t paying its way.

Though much useful work has been done

And the Service is highly commended,

The battle once more has begun;

But no foot of ground must be lost, that was won,

Health must on all fronts be defended.

For Tories, conserving the national wealth,

Are cutting investment in National Health.


S.M.A. Branches and Groups

Branches of the Socialist Medical Association exist in London and in most of the big cities and carry on campaigns not only on health problems on a national scale, but also on the special problems of their own area.

In addition, the full members of the SMA are attached to SMA GROUPS, which are formed to make possible exchanges of views between people of similar occupation. For instance, there is a Nurses’ Group, an Opticians’ Group, a General Practitioners’ Group and so on.

The Branches and Groups of the SMA play perhaps the most vital part in the work of the Association. For it is with the well-informed help of the Groups that policy is formulated, and through the Branches that such policy is disseminated to the Labour Movement.

The Socialist Medical Association is affiliated to the Labour Party and, both nationally and locally, its work is an integral part of our great Labour Movement. SMA Branches especially are active participants in local Labour Party, Co-operative and Trade Union activities such as, for example, the formation of Joint Health Advisory Committees with Trades Councils and local Trade Union Committees, and work on such subjects as Tuberculosis, Mental Deficiency, Care of the Children and Aged. Speakers are also provided by SMA Branches to other bodies in their own areas and many individual members of the SMA are active in their Labour Party, Co-op. and Trade Union organisations.

Thus, both nationally and locally, the Socialist Medical Association is a vital and active part of the Labour Movement.

The President: Dr. David Stark Murray, B.Sc., M.B., Ch.B.

Past President: Mr. Somerville Hastings, M.S., F.R.C.S., M.P., L.C.C.

Dr. Horace Joules, M.D., F.R.C.P

Dr. L. T. Hilliard M.A., M.B., D.P.M.

Dr. Barnett Stross, M.Sc., M.B.,Ch.B., M.P.

Editor of the Bulletin: Dr. D. E. Bunbury
Hon. Treasurer: Dr. L. J. Ison, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

Hon. Secretary: Dr. Sydney Gottlieb, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

Hon. Assistant Secretary: Dr. Hugh Price, L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S., D.P.H.
General Secretary: Miss Audrey Jupp