Socialist Health Association

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

It absorbed many of those who had been active in the State Medical Service Association which collapsed as a result.[1] In 1945 there were 9 members of the Association in the House of Commons, who hoped to influence the plans for the development of the National Health Service. There were communications with Bevan but his relations with the group were not particularly close.[2] The Association was keen to press for doctors to be salaried and work full-time in Health centers. 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.[3]

The Association was active in campaigns against NHS charges, smoking, tuberculosis and for adequate nutrition, for the establishment of health centres and salaried general practitioners. It changed its name in 1980 as 'Socialist Health Association' to reflect increased interest in public health. It is associated with the campaigns against health inequality[4] around the Black Report. It is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party. It changed its name as Socialist Health Association[5] in May 1981 to reflects a shift in its emphasis to the prevention of illness through the promotion of good health.

It was active in the campaign against the Health and Social Care Act 2012[6]


Dr. Charles Brook

Born to a respectable Lincoln family he shocked his family by becoming secretary of the Cambridge University Socialist Society (later the Cambridge Universities Labour Club).

He was a member of the London County Council during the period when the LCC developed its municipal hospitals and later when he was in practice in Eltham he became a Kent County Councillor and leader of the Labour group.

he is credited with convening the meeting which led to the formation of the Association of which he was Hon Secretary until 1938 and he played a prominent part in the campaign to establish the British National Health Service. He was an active member of the Medical Practitioners Union, encouraged it to affiliate to the Trades Union Congress and was in September 1935 the first ever medical delegate to the Congress.

From 1951 to 1953 he played an active part in the foundation of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Obituary of Dr Brook

Other prominent members

Prominent members include or included:

See "Why a National Health Service", D Stark Murray. Pemberton Books 1971


  1. The Socialist Medical Association and the Foundation of the NHS
  2. Webster, Charles (1988). The Health Services Since the War. London: HMSO. p. 79. ISBN 0116309423.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Webster, Charles (1988). The Health Services Since the War. London: HMSO. p. 89. ISBN 0116309423.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Spartacus Educational". Spartacus. Retrieved 15 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The dangers of marketisation". Health Service Journal. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links