Socialist Health Association Central Council Minutes

Internal governance

Minutes of the meeting held on 1st November 2014

Present: Tom Fitzgerald, Robert Buckley, Barrie Brown, John Lipetz, Gavin Ross, Eric Watts, Richard Bourne, Melanie Johnson, Tony Jewell, Jane Roberts, Chris Bain, David Amos, Tony Beddow, Brian Gibbons, David Davies, Peter Mayer, Jos Bell, David Mattocks.

Mike Roberts, Rene Smit, Rosemary Ross, Martin Rathfelder


Accepted as printed

Minutes of the meeting on September 20, 2014 were agreed as a true and accurate record

 Matters Arising:

Mediation: The proposed teleconference regarding mediation did not happen for a number of reasons. It is to be reconvened (Barrie Brown to pursue)

Ali Syed

The Central Council noted with sadness the passing of Ali Syed and paid tribute to his contribution. A minute’s silence was held to remember him


The Director reported that outstanding matters had been dealt with, other than a report on incorporation to be brought forward by The Secretary and the Director.

Other issues raised included the desirability of forming an Executive to include officers and vice chairs; ways of letting everyone know who the membership is, perhaps emailing a link to CC members; preparing and sending out a schedule of communications that CC members can expect to receive;

Campaigning up to May 2015 –  Discussion

The context is that we are facing the most uncertain election for generations, it is incredibly difficult to predict the outcome. It is also clear that health will be one of the key issues, and that it is not simply about privatisation.

The quality of debate about health and the NHS has been poor. The narrow lobbies on social security and disability have not reached a wider audience. How do we influence/change that?

Should we could put out a universal offering through the website and a targeted offering in the marginals?

Is there a danger that the key issues we help to identify in our targeted offer could be horse traded in any coalition arrangement? We have to get candidates to focus on the key issues.

The Front Bench team are working very hard and deserve our help in pulling out the key messages. The Efford Bill lobby have developed a pack which may be very useful and there is a major event in London on 17th November.

Coalition is seen as fraught with difficulties, we need to communicate our priorities very clearly to potential partners

  • More of the growth in GDP to be spent on the NHS
  • What will we do, or not do, in Government
  • There may need to be some structural change in the NHS
  • “10 lies about the NHS”
  • Support the Efford Bill not the commissioner/provider split

We need to determine what is in the manifestos of other parties

Should any preparations for coalition be conducted quietly and privately? It could be a mistake to set coalition as a target, if you miss it what’s left?

The problem with a campaign that focuses on marginals is that it is no longer a simple matter to identify where the marginals are.

We could send a brief summary of our key policies to SHA members to use in the media, phone ins etc

We should be helping to promote what great Labour Councils can do, and promote greater integration of services

We need greater clarity about what the PLP is proposing

Devolution and the implications for services working together may need a narrative from us.

A key question is “Who are we trying to influence?” and we need to tailor our message and communication methods accordingly. The public will have little interest in policy detail, we need 3 or 4 key hit lines and tightly focussed messages

We need simple central messages

  • People not profit
  • We need accountability
  • Social Care is collapsing
  • 10 lies about the NHS

Some central themes that must not and cannot be horse traded

We need to send a summary of the this discussion to the Front Bench

KONP are sending out a pledge to all candidates

The Tories are using our language as cover for a policy of fragmentation. We need to inform people what is happening by using local examples

Can the Docs help? Can front line staff help? 10% of the working population are in the NHS. Should be putting an offer directly to them, such as the chance to have a direct influence?

Inequalities in outcomes seems likely to be a key issue.

We need to set out a clear vision, an emotional pull.

On a practical note – do we understand the process for entering a coalition? Is it the NEC? The Leaders Office? The Shadow Cabinet?

NB There is to be an all night vigil on the 21st November in support of the Efford Bill

Policy Priorities

 There was some discussion about the status of RB’s paper. It was intended as an attempt to pull together some thoughts on policy areas where we don’t agree.

Questions were posed: Does the paper change policy agreed in 2012? Is it an addition to policy or perhaps a policy digest? Is it a campaigning tool? Who are the intended audience?

It was suggested that the document could be improved by tightening up the language and using terms which describe what we mean rather than generic terms such as care.

It was also felt that the paper would benefit in terms of navigation from the use of sub headings

It was also clear that the paper as it stood was intended to apply to England and did not adequately reflect issues around the 4 nations, pace etc.

The CC then considered the paper point by point:

  1. Was broadly agreed
  2. Was agreed with the proviso that it applied to democratic structures in each of the 4 nations
  3. Agreed
  4. Our current position regarding the NHS should be applied here as well
  5. It was agreed to remove the reference to Public Health being delivered through the NHS. The word “English” to be inserted in front of “Local Authorities”
  6. Agreed
  7. Agreed
  8. Not agreed at this time
  9. This needs further discussion. The terms are not clear
  10. Needs further discussion including a statement about the importance of collaboration rather than competition
  11. Apply the agreed 2012 policy position plus an additional statement about proper investment in primary care
  12. Needs further consideration, for example about the Secretary of State and Social Care
  13. Change “Contracts” to Service Level Agreement”. Agreed as amended
  14. Not agreed
  15. The wording needs to make it clearer that it refers to providers in the private sector and services provided to the public sector
  16. This needs further consideration, for example about how we make judgements on “direct benefit”
  17. This needs further consideration although the default position should always be public involvement
  18. Not considered
  19. Not considered
  20. Not considered

The meeting closed at 3.20

Next Meeting in York on 10th January 2015