Minutes of SHA Central Council November 2017

Internal governance

1 – 4 pm  at Chester Friends Meeting House

Present:  Alex Scott-Samuel (ASS), Alison Scouller (AS), Brian Gibbons (BG),  Irene Leonard (IL), John Lipetz (JL), Mike Roberts (MRo), Vivien Walsh (VW), Helen Cranage (HC),Vivien Giladi (VG) Tony Beddow (TB), David Davies (DD), Judith Varley(JV), Martin Rathfelder (MRa)  + Lesley Mahmoud, Corrie Lowry, Shaun McBride, Kathrin Thomas, Piyush Pushkar and Pauline Cutress

Apologies:  Jean Hardiman-Smith (JHS), Brian Fisher, Pater Mayer, Jos Bell, Andy Thompson, Mike Grady, Lawrence Cotter, Fiona Twycross and Caroline Walsh, David Mattocks, Rene Smit

Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Lesley Mamoud opened the meeting with a brief comprehensive overview of the current situation of the hospital and campaign and answered the questions and comments raised.  This took place first as Lesley had to leave immediately afterwards.  She left campaign literature   Further details: https://saveliverpoolwomenshospital.com   www.facebook.com/SAVELWH/ and the Campaign’s Response to the CCG’s review of Women’s and neo-natal services, available at http://www.labournet/other/1612/clinical(1.pdf)

In summary, comments and questions mentioned financial, delays and construction problems with the developers of the new Royal Hospital, Carillion, where some provision for maternity care would be available (although the official approach is for home births ignoring the poor CQC Report on the alternative private 1:1 home maternity service in Wirral), huge cuts at Alder Hey because of PFI debts, the national critical state of peri-natal physical and mental health, including the needs of pregnant women with more complex conditions (including women of older age).  There is talk of ‘pop-up’ maternity units – no-one knew what these might be.  Ambulance crews were not to receive extra maternity training and this would be particularly crucial in rural areas with miles of narrow winding roads to the nearest maternity units in rural areas like Cumbria and Devon /Cornwall.  Liverpool’s lord mayor, Joe Anderson and the Liverpool City Region elected mayor, Steve Rotheram, had both ignored the very successful campaign to save the Women’s Hospital.

Action 1   VG suggested Lesley wrote an article for Health Campaigns Together – about 800 words to broaden cover more widely across the country

Action 2  VG and IL proposed SHA should not just support and adopt the campaign but develop a proper SHA policy which would be relevant to maternity services in relation to STPs everywhere.  ASS, AS and JHS to develop this and report at the next SHA Council meeting

MRa said there was an SHA blog on maternity policy


Apologies:  as listed above. There were 4 SHA members present as observers: Corrie Lowry, Kathrin Thomas, Pauline Cutress  and Shaun McBride.  Members are allowed to contribute to the discussion with the permission of the Chair.

Minutes of last meeting accepted.  No amendments.  No matters arising

Labour Party matters.  Brighton Conference reports. 

Women’s Conference:   There were no official delegates from SHA as places had all been allocated before members applied.  AS reported it was the largest ever, very lively, transitional to making LP policy.  Dawn Lodge had spoken on ending poverty, sanitary products to be included at food banks, and statements on reproductive rights

Main Conference:  Alex’s (ASS) contribution was very well received.  He gave a resume of the Conference including the evening SHA fringe sessions.  Jon Ashworth had agreed the NHS is a priority issue and the STPs must be halted.  A Labour Briefing piece ‘The NHS at Conference’ is on the website and Conference motion 8 is on the KONP site and on the SHA site.  The re-instatement vote for motion 8 was unanimous and is now LP policy and amounts to a radical complete re-nationalisation.  ASS and Sue Richards contributed substantially to this debate.

Action all members:  All Labour councillors, MPs etc.. should be implementing the re-instatement of the NHS and SHA members, particularly those who are CLP delegates, are urged to remind them.  The manifesto and the NPF report referred to ‘preferred providers’ and profits, suggesting there is NOT a total provision from the public sector.  This was referred back to the Executive by conference.

Comments etc:   JL thanked ASS for his contribution to Conference, for returning SHA to socialist values, and asked that this should be minuted.  VW added her congratulations.

IL spoke of the book ‘The NHS plot’ which highlights the extensive collusion underway with privatisation.  Re-instatement: So far, only 30 English / Welsh MPs but all Scottish MPs had signed up to the online NHS takeback pledge.   VG commented that we must not despair as many employees are forced to implement policies with which they disagree

Young Labour    There had been attempts to recruit medical students.  ASS said it was a matter of raising awareness and this could be best done whilst teaching

Action:   Shaun McBride (SM) suggested seeking SHA recruits amongst nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, podiatrists, lab workers, paramedics, social workers – anyone working in health – and was keen to support local campaigns.  MRo said the Peoples’ Assembly had many members and we could liaise with them.  DD said the videos from the Labour Party Conference had been seen by millions and we needed to make better use of social media especially through medical and health related students and student unions

Democracy Review   MR referred to Katy Clark’s work on the Democracy Review, particularly to elements concerning Women’s Conference, BAME, Young People and Electing the Leader.  There was an expressed desire to meet with all the societies – but uncertainty whether this meant societies together or separately.  Malcolm Powers had suggested we need to unpick our affiliation to be like the trade unions.  It was agreed that SHA should have position statements on each element of the review.  DD commented on the leadership of the Review and wondered if it might lead to a battle for the ideology of the Labour Party.  AS said that 1 member 1 vote had already been rejected in Wales

Action:  VG suggested a separate meeting on policy review so SHA is properly recognised and this was agreed.   IL had attended the NW Conference in Blackpool and noted SHA was not represented; it too was the largest conference to date.  The NHS briefing was disappointing, with Trades Union delegates seemingly unsure what they were doing there, tho’ they were supposed to feed into the Democracy Review.  She liked Katy Clark who seemed keen to talk with everyone.  There was surprise at our meeting that Trades Unions were not particularly interested and it was suggested it would be useful if national and regional reps could provide some detailed information on the issues

Action MRa:  ASS proposed all members should participate.  MRa was asked to send a newsletter to all members, with dead-lines, a sensible timeframe and with some suggestions to help focus ideas.

Visit to NHS England  Brian Fisher and ASS (representing SHA) had been invited to Skipton House to meet NHS-England – the particular individual they met was Simon Stevens’ Director of Communications.  Simon Stevens had until 2005 been a member of SHA and was previously a Labour Councillor in Brixton.  Alex left some SHA application forms there.  Generally it was thought this was probably a fishing expedition for NHSE.  Alex and Brian are due to meet Jon Ashworth and JL urged Alex to be firm with him about dumping the STPs, and to have proper funding for health so England met N European standards.

Director’s Report   MRa reported 68 new members since June.  Up to 5 SHA delegates could be appointed to each CLP and to attempt balance re gender, ethnicity etc.. if more than 5 were keen to be delegates.  MRa said marches were less effective than local campaigns to save particular hospitals /services.

Next year’s public demos, the 70th birthday of the NHS.  A big march in London in March was less popular  than a July event since it demanded time and energy and perhaps used resources which would be better spent in July.  MRa suggested reprinting Nye Bevan’s essay on the NHS, and that was approved.  The newspaper Health Campaigns Together (HCT) was supporting another Spring demo in central London and an event to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS.  Both KONP (non-political) and HCT (political) produced some excellent campaign materials, all freely available to us.   MRa spoke on campaigning in marginal constituencies.  His lodger (a professional campaign manager) had suggested adopting 2 themes and targeting marginals in the Midlands.

Action  MRa to explore further and circulate some more developed concepts.

Health Policy Recommendations – Summary

  • End privatisation. JL asked if ‘planning’ could replace ‘commissioning’ throughout the document as it was essential for democratic and accountable planning in all aspects of health, and it was necessary to re-build socially cohesive communities.  ASS reminded us that discussion should be in a comradely fashion even when it inevitably becomes heated.   Brian Fisher, Tony Jewell and everyone who had contributed to the Report were thanked for their considerable work.
  • Primary and Community Care. JL stated public dental provision needs to be increased; it was becoming ever more difficult to access as privatisation progressed.  There was concern that Boots and SuperDrug were destroying small pharmacies too and that the independent contractor status of GPs was also threatened.  BG registered his concerns about growing inequalities in all aspects of health.  He asked for the Inverse Care Law to be acknowledged.
  • Mental Health needs attention particularly. The 5YFV has a section which no-one at the meeting had read.

Action  JV and all to read and comment next meeting

Local Branch Reports.  ASS asked for agreement on the notice required – 4 weeks for an AGM and 2 weeks for normal meetings.  JV gave a brief report of the successful meeting of the Liverpool City Region group in October.  Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston gave us an excellent summary of the most recent political developments and a lively Q and A followed.  The meeting had been widely advertised and attracted about 40 attendees including Councillors from North and South of the Mersey.  It was our first public meeting.

There was a brief discussion on marketing promotional products to supplement the tee-shirts

There was no other business

Next meeting will be 13 Jan in Sheffield