Health
in Understanding British and European political issues

This chapter discusses the basic principles of the National Health Service (NHS) and the origins of modern problems in health policy. The NHS came into existence in 1948 after a prolonged period of negotiation between the reforming Labour government of the day and various sections of the medical profession. It was to be funded from taxation and the National Insurance system, which had also been introduced by Atlee's government. The chapter provides a review of Conservative policies on health in the 1980s and 1990s, and review of Labour policies after 1997. It explains the critique of these policies and also provides an analysis of the enduring problems in making health policy. Despite the political consensus which has developed over health, a number of important criticisms have been levied against Labour's policies.

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