Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2013

Socialist Health Association

AGM held at Social Action for Health’s premises, Hackney 9th March 2013

Prior to the formal meeting, Elizabeth Bayliss of Social Action for Health described the work of organisation. She took questions from members. Various points were raised about the nature of effective community engagement. The Chair thanked her for her talk and for the use of the premises.

Presentation by Elizabeth Bayliss, Social Action for Health

Present: Brian Fisher, Martin Rathfelder, Alan Spence, Ian Goley, Lesley Pavitt, Barrie Brown, Eric Watts, Mike Roberts, Mike Grady, Mike Roberts, Mike Grady, Joe Farrington-Douglas, Vivien Giladi, Richard Grimes, Richard Bourne, Rachel Harris, Mark McDonald, Patrick French, Noemi Fabry, Shibley Rahman, John Lipetz, Christine Hay, Doug Naysmith, Jane Roberts, Alison Scouller, Harry Clarke, Ali Syed, David Gresty.

  1. Apologies for absence: Penny Barber, Dr John Beal, Prof Tony Beddow,  Jos Bell. Cllr Judith Blakeman, Audrey Chamberlain,  Rosemary Clarke, George Conchie, Dr Hannah Cooke,  Pauline Cutress, Prof Guy Daly, Ed Derrick, Isla Dowds, Carolyn Emanuel,Cllr Duncan Enright, Graham Estop, Tom Fitzgerald,  Cllr Judy Foster, Jean Gaffin, Phil Gregory, Nye Harries, Lady Dianne Hayter, Dr Tony Jewell,  Dr. Kanappar Jeyanthan, Melanie Johnson, David Lamb, John Lipetz, Catherine Mackereth,  David Mattocks, Patricia Moberly, Katrina Murray, Roy Oliver,  Dr Matthew Prior, Gavin and Rosemary Ross,  Catherine Stihler MEP, Bryan Stoten, Cllr Sid Tooth, Warren Town, Fiona Twycross, Mike Young

Huw Davies gave apologies for his early departure from meeting.

2. Minutes of the last AGM: Agreed

3. Matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda: none

4. Annual Report  2012

Director: Social media has made role of Director more ‘public’. Response to news events has posed problems given time constraints. Has become more cautious about responses. More discussion this year about purpose and aim of organisation.

Questions  about our relationship with the Labour Party.  How much influence do we really have?  Several members of Central Council are now in regular conversation with the health team and we are generally very happy with their approach. There is nothing in the Annual Report about the Section 75 Regulations because it’s a report about 2012.  John Lipetz felt we should press the health team on repeal of the Health and Social Care Act, PFI, and Social Care. Shibley felt we should pay more attention to the NHS IT strategy, especially in respect of data sharing.  Joe pointed out that that we also needed to relate to the Leader and Shadow Chancellor, especially in respect of issues like PFI, though Martin doubted our ability to do this.  The Parliamentary Labour Party don’t get much briefing on health issues – perhaps we could supply some.

Stuart thought we should think about our strengths and weaknesses. Campaigning and demonstrations were not our strong points.  What we do well is educating and influencing people, and influencing policy. He thanked Martin for his recent trip to Ilford.

We should be looking at health as a whole – from erection to resurrection, as Brian put it – not just thinking about the NHS.

Financial Report

The Director outlined our financial position.  We had spent about £6500 more than our income last year – partly by design and partly because of the political situation. Some had been invested in supplies of stamps, Tee-shirts and ink. We still had £19,000 in the bank and it was planned to at least break even this year.  In particular advertising on the website was now bringing in significant income.  Our policy was to accept advertising so long as what was advertised was not harmful.  In fact most of the advertisers were lawyers and suppliers of stairlifts and the like.  It was agreed that we needed to improve the look of the website and we would invest up to £2000 and would attempt to raise contributions from members for this purpose.

Constitutional Amendments

All three proposed amendments were accepted without dissent.  Text of the amendments here. Constitution as revised here


The Director reported on the results of the elections, none of which were contested.  List of those nominated. It was agreed to elect Harry Clarke and Noemi Fabri as Vice-chairs in addition to Mike Roberts and Melenie Johnson.   It was agreed to appoint Dr Brian Fisher as Vice-President, and Alison Scouller would make enquiries as to whether Dr Julian Tudor Hart was prepared to continue as President.

It was agreed that Brian Fisher, Jane Roberts, Huw Davies and Vivien Giladi would, between them, represent us at the Socialist Societies Executive.

Agreed to defer action on the various Labour Party positions until the next meeting of the Central Council on 8th June.

Future Meetings

The proposed dates were accepted, as was Barrie’s kind offer of space in the Unite building in Holborn to hold them in.

Richard Bourne’s acceptance speech:

Brain Fisher was warmly thanked for all he has done for the SHA and we are delighted that he intends to keep active and support the officers.

Over the next year we will continue to encourage debate and discussion and refine the policies we have established.  We will try to move beyond structures and the NHS and look far more widely; perhaps going back to the basics around the social determinants of health.

We will continue to encourage and facilitate liaison between the various key groups who are campaigning to oppose the Coalition health policies.

We will develop our special relationship with the Labour Party, as an affiliated organisation, and lobby for our policies to be accepted.  We will continue with providing speakers when requested and offering influencing, training and education especially around the new structures. We will continue to encourage contributions to aid our thinking and to be a repository for information.  Our meetings should be more about discussion less about administration.

In particular over the next 12 months we should aim to make further progress on developing our web site and refine our approach to the use of social media. We should review our constitution and our working practices. We should (once again) think about ways to broaden our membership and involve members more widely. We should think about how we use Socialism and Health and start inviting contributions from inside and outside the SHA.

Proposed to set up three subcommittees:

1. under Harry to review our governance procedures

2. under Brian to consider our on-line presence

3. to consider lessons from Mid-Staffordshire

As far as the website is concerned it was agreed that we should be open to contributions from people we disagreed with, but we need to make it clearer what the status of posts was.  We might want to keep posts shorter too. If possible we might try to arrange reciprocal deals with websites run by our opponents. Agreed to remit the Social Media policy back to Brian’s group, as most of those present had not got a copy.

There was a wide-ranging discussion on the lessons from Mid-Staffordshire