Voluntary Work with the Socialist Health Association

Tha Association is very pleased to offer opportunities to volunteers, but we need our volunteers to be quite independent.  This is a very small organisation with one part time employee who works from home. We are registered with the University of Manchester and we advertise volunteering opportunities which are rather grandly described as Policy Analyst, or Conference Organiser.

Have a look round our website and you will see the sort of thing we are interested in. In the past people have done a variety of stuff:

  • Writing short articles on varied subjects for publication, especially on blogs.
  • Scanning old documents for the website.
  • Analysing the length of life of members of parliament elected in 1945.,
  • Devising surveys on medical students attitudes to old people.
  • Comparing UK health system with those in other countries.

At present we urgently need people to help understand the coalition government’s proposals for the NHS, to produce responses to them, and to help organise opposition in various ways. We don’t have much need for academic writing. We need a more journalistic approach. We also have an ongoing need for people with design and IT skills, and an interest in archives.

We run several sorts of events:

  1. Policy seminars, usually midweek, day time with 4 or 5 speakers, analysing a particular topic from different points of view (typically a practitioner, an academic, a service user, a politician or manager). Good for raising awareness of issues we think are important, and for bringing our existence to the attention of particular interest groups. Often help us to produce useful policy recommendations. Many of those attending will come in works time and their employer will pay. Some make a profit.
  2. Campaigning events. Oriented round a policy issue, often with similar speakers to 1, but typically on a Saturday. Most of those attending pay their own way.
  3. The restaurant offensive. Meet for dinner in the evening in a restaurant with some eminent person who is prepared to give us their perspective on the world (and often their life story) in return for a good dinner. Good for building relationships. Could be expanded into fundraising events if we can recruit sufficiently attractive and well known speakers.
  4. Training events. We have run quite a few from LINK members and one for NHS Complaints staff. These make money, but it isn’t clear whether in times of economic stringency they are still viable. However we run very downmarket events – the Netto of the conference circuit, and we have quite a good reputation, especially among people who have an interest in politics. More health professionals may be taking an interest in politics over the next few years.

If you are still interested in volunteering with us tell us a bit about yourself.  What have you got to offer?  What do you want to get out of this and how much time have you got?

For backroom type tasks the time you spend is up to you, and can be spread over a long period. Organising an event is more demanding, in that tasks are driven by deadlines, but may not take up huge amounts of time. Blog writing is very deadline driven.