Socialist Health Association
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. The inaugural meeting was convened by Charles Wortham 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.
Somerville Hastings was founder President of the Socialist Medical Association (SMA) 1930-51. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, followed by work as an aural surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital. He was a Member of the London County Council for fourteen years.
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. 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.
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. It is associated with the campaigns against health inequality.
Alex Scott-Samuel, a public health physician and retired lecturer in public health at the University of Liverpool, was elected Chair in 2017. On behalf of the Association he proposed a resolution at the 2017 Labour Party Conference confirming Labour's opposition to Tory policies for the NHS in England and calling for the reinstatement of the NHS 'as per the NHS reinstatement Bill'. It was carried unanimously.
- The Socialist Medical Association and the Foundation of the NHS
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