Socialist Health Association

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The Socialist Medical Association (since 1980 the Socialist Health Association) was founded in 1930 to campaign from within the Labour Party for a National Health Service in the United Kingdom.


The Socialist Medical Association was founded in 1930 and absorbed many of those who had been active in the State Medical Service Association which collapsed as a result.[1] The inaugural meeting was convened by Charles Brook, a doctor with links to the Labour Party who was a member of the London County Council (LCC) during the period when the LCC developed its municipal hospitals. Brook was the first Secretary of the Association, remaining in office until 1938.[2]

In 1945 there were nine members of the Association in the House of Commons. They hoped to influence the plans for the development of the National Health Service (NHS). There were communications with Aneurin Bevan but his relations with the group were not particularly close.[3] The Association was keen to press for doctors to be salaried and work full-time in health centres. They wanted teaching hospitals to be integrated into the regional hospital organisations and criticised the segmentation of the service as a barrier to integrated services.[4]

The Association was active in campaigns against NHS charges, smoking and tuberculosis, and for adequate nutrition, the establishment of health centres and salaried general practitioners.[citation needed] It is associated with the campaigns against health inequality.[5]

It changed its name in May 1981 to the Socialist Health Association to reflect increased interest in public health.[6] It is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party.[citation needed]

It was active in the campaign against the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[7]


Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ The Socialist Medical Association and the Foundation of the NHS
  2. ^ "Dr Charles Wortham Brook CBE 1901-1983". 6 November 1983. Retrieved 2016-09-13. 
  3. ^ Webster, Charles (1988). The Health Services since the War. London: HMSO. p. 79. ISBN 0116309423. 
  4. ^ Webster, Charles (1988). The Health Services since the War. London: HMSO. p. 89. ISBN 0116309423. 
  5. ^ "David Conway argues that what the NHS can do is limited without removing the greater social and economic inequality". Scottish Left Review. September 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Spartacus Educational". Spartacus. Archived from the original on 2014-03-20. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "The dangers of marketisation". Health Service Journal. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

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