Minutes of SHA Central Council September 2015

Internal governance

Meeting held 26th September 2015  Brighthelm Centre, Brighton

  1. Apologies: Accepted as printed on the agenda. Further apologies received from David Davies, Brian Gibbons, David Gresty, Paul Dolan, Jane Roberts
  2. Minutes of the meeting held on 13th June 2015: Under Agenda Item 6 replace “where the Government was left exposed because they put the emphasis on education” with “the underfunding by the UK coalition government and its verbal attacks on the NHS in Wales was difficult to counteract, and led to the Welsh Labour government being blamed for any problems in the NHS”.

With that amendment the minutes were accepted as true and accurate record.

3.1 Leadership nomination: The Director reported that the SHA had been the first affiliated organisation to nominate Jeremy Corbyn, and that we had received a letter of thanks from him. Members agreed this was good for profile, and we should make the most of it.

3.2 NEC and NPF Elections: Our nominations had not been successful. However we still had Tony Beddow, Donna Hutton, Kat Murray, and Nick Davis on the NPF.

Members felt that the NPF in its current format was not effective and may need to change. There was also felt to be a disconnect between the NPF and the Leadership which meant that the outputs of the NPF had little impact. Members agreed that there needed to be a debate at Annual Conference about how the NPF was working.

3.3 Working Group on Devolution: Members agreed that the working group needed to report to the Central Council meeting on 9th January 2016.  There was discussion about whether our definitions about devolution should include cities, but members agreed that it should largely be about Nations at this point.

Reports from the Nations/Regions:

Wales: The focus at the moment seems largely to be around primary care. There has been a public meeting with Prof Sit Mansell Ayward

Scotland: The Conway report focussing on health inequalities is due to report soon.  A number of health organisations are being compromised by things like a lack of Out of Hours cover, increased centralisation, and recruitment crises.   There is a looming crisis in social care.  The Labour Party in Scotland is not in a good place at the moment

Greater Manchester: Things are proceeding at a great pace. A Chief Executive has been appointed for the health side, although there remains some tensions about the location of acute facilities. Many of the issues identified in Scotland are present here too. Residential Care Homes are closing especially in the south. The merits of integration are probably being overstated. It is being seen as a cure-all when in fact it seems unlikely to make the cash savings that are being talked about.

Meeting agreed that we would look at the impacts of the Comprehensive Spending Review at the next CC

4 Contemporary Resolution for the Labour Party Conference: Our Contemporary Resolution is now in the Ballot (and was selected for debate and passed).

5 New Labour health team: The Shadow Team are Heidi Alexander, Andrew Gwynne, Luciana Berger, Justin Madders, Karen Smith, Barbara Keeley, and Phil Hunt. It was agreed that we needed to avoid having any kind of silo mentality when we seek to influence the new team. For example we need to include issues such as planning, transport, housing etc.

6 Strategies for the future:

6.1 Ideas for a Socialist Health Policy: It was agreed that we needed to get together a list of existing policies  and add new ones such as Health Impact Assessments to it

6.2 Plans for policy development: It was agreed that it would be useful to have a policy development
process that was clear, transparent, and timetabled. A process that set  out clearly how we intend to make policy.

The key characteristics of the process could be:
That we should have a number of local, open, policy development  forums.
The outputs of each of the Forums should be minuted or noted
Chatham House rules
The outputs from the local Forums could then feed into an annual policy forum in an open rolling process
The annual policy forum determines policy and how it is to be used to inform, campaign etc

Some issues that needed to be taken into account included:
How do we make sure we get grass roots inputs?
How do we ensure the outputs from the local forums make a real difference?
We need to make sure our objectives are clear from the start
How will we use outputs and who should we influence?
Why would people turn up?
On whose behalf do we speak?
Will we then campaign on the basis of policies that are developed?
How do “ordinary” citizens get involved?
Can we move away from our normal NHS comfort zones?

6.3 Campaigning
Key issues debated included:
How can we get local ownership of campaigns?
Local Government are facing the most immediate challenges, especially with regards to social care
Mental Health and Health Inequalities are important
Do we need to work in partnership with others to broaden our reach and appeal?
There is currently no broad agreement on what the SHA is and what it  stands for
Wales appears to have a more clearly defined image, although it is still evolving. Using a “38 degrees” sort of approach to engage people.
Focus down on doing a few things really well. Linked to that visibility is really important – so keep it simple and say it often

We should adopt a process:
Broad set of local meetings
Feeds into an annual meeting
Have a clear agreement about what we then do
Co-ordinate what we want to say
Use polling (in the way that 38 degrees do) with our members to establish our priorities and gain buy in

It was agreed that this should be an iterative process in which outcomes are refined over time

The outcomes can then be used to influence Conference