What is the Socialist Health Association for? 2005

To promote health and wellbeing, social justice, and the eradication of inequalities through the application of socialist principles to society and government.

This clearly includes the three original aims of the SHA as set out in 1930. The new ingredient which dominates public health and socialist thinking at the beginning of the third millennium is the reduction and ultimate eradication of inequalities.

To achieve this MISSION we believe that we need to be an actively campaigning organisation as well as one that supports critical debate about the wide range of issues that comprise health and wellbeing in the third millennium. We want to make a difference by having influence at the highest level, that is on the government and on the Labour Party as well as on other bodies that influence them such as trade unions and on other socialist societies.


Underpinning our Mission are three core values :

  • DEMOCRACY – informed participation with election not selection
  • EQUALITY – of opportunity and respect supported by affirmative action
  • UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE – meeting the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and care needs of all, publicly provided, free at the point of use and funded by general taxation.

Underpinning these core values are seven guidelines for action :

  • PREVENTION AS WELL AS TREATMENT – investment in prevention of disease as well as on treatment
  • WIDER DETERMINANTS AS WELL AS HEALTHCARE – recognition that the wider determinants such as income, education and employment are as important in promoting the nation’s health as healthcare
  • INTERNATIONALISM – recognition of the UK’s international obligations to developing nations in respect of trade agreements and the importation of scarce healthcare personnel
  • SOLIDARITY – working in close collaboration with other like minded bodies such as trade unions and the other socialist societies
  • LOCALISM – decision making as near as possible to where it will have impact and at community level wherever practicable
  • AN INTEGRATED, WHOLE SYSTEMS APPROACH – health, social care and wellbeing services provided through partnership working as integrated packages tailored to the needs of user, not the convenience of providers
  • COOPERATIVE ENDEAVOUR – a cooperative approach to the running of public, voluntary and private sector services with worker and user participation


It is not possible to espouse every good cause. So we will concentrate our efforts on those issues which we consider to be central to the attainment of our Mission :

  • Reducing inequalities in health particularly for disadvantaged groups such as the mentally ill; and for vulnerable groups particularly children
  • Local democratic control of the NHS including giving patients a voice at local and national levels
  • Defending and extending the NHS including securing adequate public funding, and removing all costs to users such as prescription charges and travel costs
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles through the provision of easy to understand and quality assured information to empower the public and through countering the influence of anti-health forces and any other factors which undermine this empowerment.


To achieve these aims we will actively campaign both in our own right and, where appropriate, in collaboration with other like minded organisations.