Annual Report 2015

Internal governance

The first half of 2015 was dominated by the election campaign – the first fixed term parliament removing the usual uncertainty of timing.  Local election campaigns preoccupied most of our active members.  It became apparent early in the campaign that the health policies which we had helped to devise and which had been agreed by the National Policy Forum and the Labour Conference were not going to feature in the campaign.  Instead there was a rather incoherent mixture of denunciation of the Coalition programme of privatisation and marketisation with promises of an improved consumer experience to be powered by staffing increases, particularly in GP numbers which lacked credibility to an informed audience.    There was discussion of  integrated whole-person care – bringing physical health, mental health and social care into a single service – but it was never clear how this was to be paid for or delivered.

When it came to the General Election it appeared that health issues had not made much political impact.  Denunciation of the Coalition record on the NHS went down well in Labour areas, but claims that the NHS was being dismantled did not convince Conservative voters.  There was no defence of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act – in fact the Tories never mentioned it.

The fact that some of our members were elected to Parliament was little comfort for the overall result in May.

The Association was amongst the first to submit a supporting nomination for Jeremy Corbyn – though his victory in our internal poll was close and by no means all our members supported him – and we were rewarded with a prominent mention in his victory speech.

We spent the Autumn building up a positive relationship with the new health team and trying to work out our response to the unprecedented squeeze on health and social care services. The other policy development which has generated a lot of interest is the DevoManc deal. It is still very unclear what effect this development will actually have.

Towards the end of the year the junior doctors dispute came to a head, and it was clear that it would be a very significant event in 2016.

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