Annual General Meeting 2005

Annual General Meeting 2005 held on Saturday 21st May 2005 at Wesley’s Chapel, City Road London, starting at noon.

Present: Mike Young (Vice-Chair – chaired the meeting), Tony Jewell, Julian Tudor Hart, Lynda Price, Derek Marcus, Doug Naysmith, Hiron Roy, David Mattocks, David Pickersgill, Joy Mostyn, John Lipetz, Rosemary Ross, Judith Blakeman, Christine Hay, Martin Rathfelder, Gavin Ross, Peter Viggers, Diane Hayter, Tom Fitzgerald, Patrick Vernon.

1.  Apologies for absence:

Dr John Ashton, Peter Crome, Dame June Clark, Lesley Pavitt, Dr James Munro, Kate Richards, Catherine Stihler MEP, Rosemary Clarke, Phil Gregory, Liz Irvine, Dr Ali Syed, Dr Joan Ripley, Patricia Moberley, Dr Pam Wortley, Carole Barley, Tina Funnell (Hon Secretary), Mike Roberts, Christine Dore, Rita Stringfellow (Vice-Chair), Paul Walker (Chair), Brian Flood, Prof Wendy Savage, JAS Weir, Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, John Biggs, Mair Garside, Dr Suresh Pushpananthan.

It was noted with regret that Mair Garside had resigned from Central Council and members wished to record their thanks for her thoughtful contributions over many years.

Paul Walker and Rita Stringfellow were both carers of spouses with new hips.

2. Minutes of the AGM 2004 – agreed as a true record

3. Matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda – none

4. Annual Report and accounts (tabled)

Discussion on the report followed the main sections:

a)     Political developments: Martin had noted his personal reflections on the General Election during which public health was never mentioned.  However, in some areas, such as Manchester Withington, rumours about hospital plans were dynamite: a Lib-Dem campaign to “save” Christie Hospital (which was under no threat) cost Keith Bradley his seat.  However, Melanie Johnson’s defeat in Welwyn Hatfield was affected by disaffection in the local party rather than by health issues.  In some constituencies, Iraq – or more particularly anti-Blair feelings – had a significant impact, with Labour voters turning to the Lib-Dems and Tories winning ‘by the back door’.  In seats targeted by the Tories, alarmist adverts on MRSA, violent crime and immigration had been placed and voters had been subject to intensive telephone canvassing.  The Labour Party would need to tackle these new techniques.  The SHA should encourage the Government to be bolder in its public health strategies, since there is no evidence that the electorate opposes smoke-free environments.

b)    Organisation and finance: Gavin thanked Judith for her work for the SHA over several years, and for her willingness to accept redundancy due to the tight finances.  We were all pleased that she would remain an active member of Central Council.  For this year there was no need to raise membership and affiliation fees, which do meet the cost of servicing the membership.  However, we must attract more members and increase the profitability of conferences, both of which take a lot of effort.  In order to increase activity, we need to increase funding for staffing – or volunteers must undertake more on behalf of the SHA.  Discussions with Amicus about affiliation were continuing.  Julian Tudor Hart felt that the SHA was paying the price of opposing Allyson Pollack in the PFI debate, and that there would be support for us among those organisations who seek to defend the NHS against change, particularly the competitive, market-style ethos of the choice agenda.  On the other hand,  Diane Hayter urged the SHA to recruit among the many Labour members of NHS Trusts, and to promote health debates in Tribune.  The accounts were accepted, with thanks to the auditors.

c)     Activity: Doug thanked Martin and Judith for the increased level of activity through a full programme of conferences.  There was a marked increase in SHA activity over the past five years.  John Lipetz proposed that the organisation of conferences should be strengthened by the appointment of a Council member to help Martin for each conference and ensure that a report was published, so that Central Council could take the subject of the conference forward.

d)    Branch activity:  levels of activity in branches varies from year to year.  It was pleasing that the North East branch had been successfully re-started.  The Swansea branch was ageing and declining, but Julian proposed the formation of an all-Wales branch, meeting alternately in Swansea and Cardiff.  The School of Health Services at Glamorgan University was a potential sources of recruits.  SHA in Wales were fortunate in having direct lines to ministers: Jane Hutt had been excellent on public health, and now Brian Gibbons, a former partner of Julian’s, was minister.  The branch had some effect on policy

e)     Contacts: running conferences as a successful business activity depends on a good database of contacts.  Martin was continuing to build up the database and to strengthen networks.  However, Central Council members were urged to be more proactive to recruiting members.

f)      SHA objectives: Martin’s proposed objectives for 2005-6 were agreed.  Gavin, as the new editor of S&H, appealed for articles and information for the next issue by 20 June.  Only with co-operation from members could he maintain regular quarterly editions.

The Annual Report was approved.

5. Report of the auditors: David Mattocks congratulated Martin on the good order of the books and clear presentation of information.  The audit had been conducted with good humour.  He reiterated comments on the financial weakness of the organisation and the urgent need to find new sources of income.

6. Nominations had been received as follows:

Chair: Dr Paul Walker

Secretary: Tina Funnell

Treasurer: Gavin Ross

Vice Chairs (2): Mike Young, Rita Stringfellow

These nominations were accepted

 Central Council consists of the Honorary Officers, 20 directly elected members, a representative from each nationally affiliated organisation (currently just Unison), and representatives from branches at the rate of 1 per 30 members (or part thereof).

The following nominations for directly elected places were received in advance:

Cllr Mike Roberts, Dr Ali Syed, Dr Suresh Pushpananthan, Patrick Vernon, Judith Blakeman, Christine Hay, Rosemary Ross (minute taker), Val Bayliss-Brideaux, Dr Tony Jewell, Dr Hiren Roy, John Lipetz, Joy Mostyn, Dr Doug Naysmith, David Pickersgill, Christine Dore.

Julian Tudor Hart (for Wales), Peter Viggers and Derek Marcus were proposed and agreed.  Anna Lynch and Melanie Johnson were proposed and would be invited to join.

Branch representatives:

West Midlands have appointed David Mattocks,

London have appointed Huw Davies and Tom Fitzgerald

Newcastle have appointed Brian Flood

Manchester have appointed Richard Harrison.

Auditors (2): David Mattocks and Edward Ashley

Delegate to Labour Party Conference: Gavin Ross

Labour Party NEC: Diane Hayter (representing the Socialist Societies)

Delegates to Socialist Societies Executive: Joy Mostyn, with Paul Walker or other officers as substitutes where necessary, particularly if tele-conferencing is introduced.

7. Proposed affiliations to other organisations: It was agreed to affiliate to the Labour Party nationally, and to Regional Labour Parties where branches were interested to take part in Regional Conferences.  Branches would be asked to consider this.  It was also agreed to continue to affiliate to Medact and to UKPHA.

8. Resolutions – none received

9. Any other business – none