SHA website brief


 Our purpose for the website:

  •  To inform the debate (esp. LP) and help prepare the ground for a more socialist (i.e. community rather than commercially driven) approach to health policy.
  •  Health policy in this context  is any public policy with an aim to improve the health and wellbeing of the population as well as any policy relating to the organisation /  funding / provision of health care services.
  •  We want to influence the debate within the LP but also to help the LP to influence the wider public debate on health and wellbeing.

Our Target Audience for the site

a)         Politically interested and politically engaged. People who vote, who are politically active and want to make a difference in their community and for a different future. Especially those whose lives are impacted by the health service, either as a patient, relative or as members of staff.

What immediate response do we want from our audience when they come across the SHA site? 

  •              a)         We want to catch their interest!
  •              b)         We want them to participate in the debate & make comments.
  •              c)         We want them to leave better informed & keen to come back. We would like to especially target the Media National Press and provide them with easy copy.

What longterm response are we aiming for?

  •              d)         We want them to help raise the bar, improve / inform the public debate on health policy and vote accordingly?
  •              e)         We want them to Join the SHA & donate.
  •              f)         We want them to campaign.

Some groups who might be especially willing to engage (in no particular order):

Health care workers, frontline staff and managers / Patients and their families (currently Julie Bailey and James Titcombe have greater influence on health policy than any political organisation)  / Lay People in NHS (e.g. Health Watch) / Campaigners / People who come into contact with Health Services i.e. Users / Local Politicians / Labour Party Members / Media / Third Sector / Policy geeks / Engaged academics

What are the three actions our audience can engage in on the site? What are the implications for the Home Page? Taking the above into consideration what needs to feature prominently on the Homepage?

Discussion on Policy Debate (Policy in the widest sense not SHA policy). Most Importantly commenting should be easy and accessible.

There are various technical ways to facilitate this (including various ways to log in) Mike will be able to advise us on the best discussion boards and the cost implications. Here are two options:

Joining & Donating should be easy but I would assume that we will need to build up towards this.

The SHA as an organisation is only marginally involved in campaigns although individual SHA members are contributing and leading campaigns . Therefore building on some of Shibley’s suggestions I think our third emphasis should be on building and facilitating Networks & Alliances providing a Platform & Exchange for smaller left leaning groups (who question the neo-liberal agenda). This section could include Events / Links / Resources.

In addition there is the easy access to the SHA members site.


To gain a better sense of how the Home Page might be organised and what it might look like

Websites we particularly like and one with similar target and aims to us is:

 Other websites we like:

Everyone has emphasised the need for a clear / simple and tidy site. Less is More. Regarding visuals and various plug ins I would prefer to wait for suggestions from Remeike (designer) or Mike as this is their bread and butter and I expect that they know of solutions which might be new to us.

In general it is important to remember that good design (i.e. simple and effective) is marked by consistency and the use of images can undermine this unless they are very tightly managed. This is why I am very reluctant to include images.

Main Navigation Headings:

(as devised by Jos with my additions in blue.) We are fully aware that these headings might change but at the moment this appears to be the essential information which should be easy to find at a click of a button.

1.         ABOUT

  • – About the SHA
  • – About the NHS (after all the NHS is an SHA concept)
  • – The ever evolving Maze of NHS Structures


  • – agreed
  • – under development/revision


  • – original contributions
  • – sourced research

5.         ACTIONS & EVENTS / Campaigns & Campaign Resources

6.         LINKS

  • – articles
  • – websites
  • – blogs

7.         NEWS

  • Press
  • Twitterfeed

8.         MEMBERS

Sub-Navigation Headings under 2. Policies & Positions

(as compiled by Tony my additions in blue, things which we ought to mention as listed in recent email exchanges as well as the current categorisation)

1. Healthcare and Political and Economic thinking

  • – Marketisation  /Competition
  • – Choice
  • – Commissioner / Provider
  • – Re-organisation/Re-structuring of services
  • – Rationing

7.  (or 1a)) Health Inequalities and the social determinants of health (as this is our best seller I would move it up the ladder)

  • – Access to services
  • – Post code Lottery
  • – The N(ational) in NHS

2. Regulation / Accountability

  • – of the healthcare professions
  • – Role of trade unions
  • – of healthcare providers
  • – of health care managers

2 B) Quality of Care / Patient Care & Safety ? The S(ervice) in NHS

  • – Case studies
  • – Whistleblowers
  • – local Campaigns
  • – Complaints / inquiries
  • – Consultations

3. Integration

  • –  of patient care / co-creation
  • –  of care organization / community

4. Primary Care (including paramedic ambulance care)

4 A) Mental Health

5. Secondary and Tertiary Care

6. Public Health and emerging challenges

– Community  / individual Responsibility

8. Non NHS care providers

9. Local Government and health

10. Health care systems internationally / International Comparison

11. The European Union and Health / Global

Editorial Content:

1.            Commissioning/ Cajoling Copy

Copywriting key pieces to populate some of the new pages which are emerging through the re-structure.

I have asked Tony Beddow to be in charge of the commissioning for the site. It is crucial that a single person has clear overview of what subjects need to be covered / what the priorities are and to maintain a consistent framework for information pieces. In case anyone is worried this is not about taming controversial contributions but instead ensuring that essential subjects are covered consistently and reliably.

As a well respected (semi retired) academic with decades of experience in the health service engaged at the vanguard of policy development he is ideally placed to mobilize the SHA’s wide network to cajole (in his words) colleagues to contribute to the website.

No matter how sophisticated our design the website will only be as good as the content published on it. Commissioning is directly linked with the issues of resources (i.e. limit of financial and abundance of human). We agreed a general commissioning approach in earlier in the design process (email dated 25th June):

The SHA’s key resource is the expertise, skills  and vast networks of its Membership.

In monetary terms this means that beyond treasuring our £ we need to be frugal with our human resources by creating a conducive environment which welcomes and even cherishes people’s contributions.

Practical Process:

We write a recruitment e-mail with the subjects / key words we would like covered.

We give a clear brief (e.g. 200 words max), we ask that especially for more controversial issues such as Socialism 2-3 people work together and write an introductory piece.

I am fully aware that there are earth shattering controversies around such themes BUT if there is transparency about the writer’s agenda than I don’t see what is wrong with being opinionated– other members are welcome to offer their own perspective (which can be posted as a response to the original piece) as long as they stick to the brief i.e. 200 words and transparency about their motivation (along the lines of ‘I fought in the war to save socialism…).

This approach will generate discussion and help make the site lively from the start–as long as people stick to the rules (which is in our control) I think this will work.

Of course if there are key paragraphs which we think need to be under close control than those we have to either write ourselves or commission someone to do so (which in this day of squeeze will most likely cost less than £100).

2.         In the discussion on Thematic vs Topical organisation to content. We have agreed to start with a  Thematic approach of the Home Page (some of you who disagreed have been generous enough to conditionally endorse this approach). We will annually review the success (or lack of) after the initial launch.

a)         Content Strategy

What are we aiming to achieve? (s.a.)

We want to influence and inform the debate (as we have agreed) and provide a useful discussion platform for a more socialist approach to health policy to ultimately win supporters and collaborators and forge alliances it is paramount that we set our own agenda and decide on the themes which we believe are insufficiently represented on other media platforms. Importantly we want to supply easy copy on these issues to the press).

Health Inequality clearly is one of these themes (and there are many subsection of it). Tellingly the most visited pages on the current SHA site are those concerned with Health Inequality, a subject the mainstream press pays little attention to but one that is the SHA’s raison d’être and looking at the viewing figures clearly of great interest to the wider public.

The media is appalling on the reporting on Health. As much as I admire the work of individual health campaigners it is extraordinary when the agenda for the debate on one of the biggest budget items of the UK government, the public provision of health care is completely dominated by individual campaigners with incredibly tragic stories and no formal qualifications although clearly an instinctive understanding of health care services. The coverage of Safe & Sustainable and of the various Mortality Rate Debacles are also badly informed and have contributed little to the public understanding of health care.

Most of these debates are framed within a sensationalist media agenda and generate confusion and  a general mistrust in the system, they neither inform the debate nor the public.

The role of the SHA is to influence Health Policy and the Politics of Health and within that framework our duty is to de-emotionalise the debate and offer something framed between the academic work of the Kings Fund and the populist appeal of the Daily Mail. A pretty big niche to fill!

b)         Media Strategy

Various members of the EB raised the need to engage more effectively with the Media especially with the press and ease the way towards a more sophisticated and honest discussion of  the health service and health policy.

As this is not something I am particularly familiar with and as it is an area where the SHA’s work could and should have greater impact I have asked Jos Bell to guide and lead on this aspect of the website development. How can we best influence the framing of the debate? Which themes are most relevant and how can we help create an effective platform for people with in depth knowledge and help them provide insightful pieces which in turn will invite comment & debate and raise the interest of the media? These questions will need continuous consideration and reassessment. Jos will be our woman with the ears to the ground.

Our goal is that all those interesting well argued e-mails from experts such as Arun on Mental Health on Hannah on Nursing will find their rightful place and help inform and engage the public.

3.         Protocols for Contributors.

We need an overall strategy on register of authors’ interest and on dating contributions. I agree with Tony that anything over 12 months can be considered historic. And maybe the easiest approach to the historic material is to organise it according to publishing year.

We will need to develop a clear and simple protocol to individual section of the site.  This is the next step!