9 Critical Soc. Pol'y 4 (1989)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy9 and id is 1 raw text is: 





Radical mental health policy: some tensions
for   socialism

DAVID   PILGRIM   and ANNE   ROGERS



Abstract

  This article considers the development of a mental health policqfrom the
  Socialist HealthAssociation between 1986 and 1988 The discussion docu-
  ment at the centre of this policy development (Goodbye To All That?) is
  summarised and its reception in the Socialist Health Association and else-
  where reported. The difficulties in developing the pol:, and the range of
  responses to it]tm different sections ofthe labour movement are then dis-
  cussed in an attempt to clartfy the tensions which continue to exist around,
  mental health services in Britain in the late 1980s.


INTRODUCTION
This article has three aims. First, to describe the context of production of a
mental health policy from the Socialist Health Association (SHA). Second, to
summarise  the discussion document, Goodbye To All That? (GTAT) (SHA,
1987) which was at the centre of this policy development. Third, to discuss
responses from within the SHA and other parts of the labour movement to
GTAT   in order to highlight some present unresolved tensions, on the British
left about mental health policy.

THE   ORGANISATIONAL CONTEXT OF GTAT
At its 51st Annual General Meeting in 1981, the Socialist Medical Association
(SMA)   was re-named the Socialist Health Association. This indicated, at
least in principle, a shift in emphasis within the organisation from medicine to
health. The SMA  was a well established, medically-led socialist organisation
which enjoyed close links with the Labour Party. Then as now the Association
was affiliated to the Labour Party, though its membership contained socialists
and communists  outside of the British social democratic tradition. Whilst the
organisation remains non-sectarian, its original membership composition has
produced  an organisational legacy of key reformist goals (establishing and
defending  the National Health Service, nationalising the pharmaceutical
industry, outlawing private practice etc). These goals have centred upon the


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