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Social surveys and activist feelings
Jennifer Crane

Beyond its seventieth year, Britons are repeatedly told in culture, politics, and media that the National Health Service (NHS) is loved and important, yet under threat. 1 What does it mean when we say that we ‘love’ the NHS? How do different public groups ascribe meaning to this service? When do feelings about the NHS, such as love or fear, turn to action, such as protest or changing patterns of usage? Understanding these questions helps us to think through a cultural history of the NHS, bound up with

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions
Angela Whitecross

of ten poems representing each location within the trust. ‘Wings’ is particularly germane to this chapter, as it creates a sense of how South Bristol Community Hospital is a place with history and meaning beyond the National Health Service (NHS), interwoven into both individual and collective memory. ‘NHS at 70’ began creating a shared history of the NHS in 2017 by recording experiences from staff and patients across the four nations of the UK and since March 2020 has focused on the NHS and COVID-19. 3 An

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions
Mathew Thomson

to feel that something important is missing from these accounts when it comes to colour, feeling, and meaning. There are different routes available if we want to address this. One is to turn to the social history of experience, an approach taken by Saunders, Crane, and Whitecross in this book. Another, and that which forms the focus of this chapter, is to examine how the welfare state, and here in particular the National Health Service (NHS), was represented. If we look sideways to the story of the ‘warfare state’ we

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions
Martin D. Moore

from badly fitting doors and windows.’ In their place ‘will be well-decorated, warm and spacious rooms with plenty of seating’. 1 The campaign reflected a growing concern with general practice premises in the early years of the National Health Service (NHS), with waiting-room accommodation attracting particular attention. Over the late 1940s and early 1950s, GPs’ surgeries provided a subject for newspaper correspondence and reports, social surveys, investigation by medical professionals, and even parliamentary

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions
Roberta Bivins

history of responses to and projections of the National Health Service (NHS) add to our understandings? Here I will show that attending to popular culture in particular allows us to identify and explore the deliberately constructed and meticulously curated meanings of Britain’s NHS for domestic and international audiences at the heart of key debates during the Cold War. At the same time, close scrutiny of popular culture reveals that many of the cultural tropes currently dominating America’s idiosyncratic opposition to

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions
Chronic disease and clinical bureaucracy in post-war Britain

Through a study of diabetes care in post-war Britain, this book is the first historical monograph to explore the emergence of managed medicine within the National Health Service. Much of the extant literature has cast the development of systems for structuring and reviewing clinical care as either a political imposition in pursuit of cost control or a professional reaction to state pressure. By contrast, Managing Diabetes, Managing Medicine argues that managerial medicine was a co-constructed venture between profession and state. Despite possessing diverse motives – and though clearly influenced by post-war Britain’s rapid political, technological, economic, and cultural changes – general practitioners (GPs), hospital specialists, national professional and patient bodies, a range of British government agencies, and influential international organisations were all integral to the creation of managerial systems in Britain. By focusing on changes within the management of a single disease at the forefront of broader developments, this book ties together innovations across varied sites at different scales of change, from the very local programmes of single towns to the debates of specialists and professional leaders in international fora. Drawing on a broad range of archival materials, published journals, and medical textbooks, as well as newspapers and oral histories, Managing Diabetes, Managing Medicine not only develops fresh insights into the history of managed healthcare, but also contributes to histories of the NHS, medical professionalism, and post-war government more broadly.

This book examines the payment systems operating in British hospitals before the National Health Service (NHS). An overview of the British situation is given, locating the hospitals within both the domestic social and political context, before taking a wider international view. The book sets up the city of Bristol as a case study to explore the operation and meaning of hospital payments on the ground. The foundation of Bristol's historic wealth, and consequent philanthropic dynamism, was trade. The historic prominence of philanthropic associations in Bristol was acknowledged in a Ministry of Health report on the city in the 1930s. The distinctions in payment served to reinforce the differential class relations at the core of philanthropy. The act of payment heightens and diminishes the significance of 1948 as a watershed in the history of British healthcare. The book places the hospitals firmly within the local networks of care, charity and public services, shaped by the economics and politics of a wealthy southern city. It reflects the distinction drawn between and separation of working-class and middle-class patients as a defining characteristic of the system that emerged over the early twentieth century. The rhetorical and political strategies adopted by advocates of private provision were based on the premise that middle-class patients needed to be brought in to a revised notion of the sick poor. The book examines why the voluntary sector and wider mixed economies of healthcare, welfare and public services should be so well developed in Bristol.

Cultural histories of the National Health Service in Britain
Editors: and

The National Health Service (NHS) officially ‘opened’ across Britain in 1948. It replaced a patchy system of charity and local providers, and made healthcare free at the point of use. Over the subsequent decades, the NHS was vested with cultural meaning, and even love. By 1992, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson declared that the service was ‘the closest thing the English have to a religion’. Yet in 2016, a physician publishing in the British Medical Journal asked whether the service was, in fact, a ‘national religion or national football’, referring to the complex politics of healthcare. Placards, posters, and prescriptions radically illuminates the multiple meanings of the NHS, in public life and culture, over its seventy years of life. The book charts how this institution has been ignored, worshipped, challenged, and seen as under threat throughout its history. It analyses changing cultural representations and patterns of public behaviour that have emerged, and the politics and everyday life of health. By looking at the NHS through the lenses of labour, activism, consumerism, space, and representation, this collection showcases the depth and potential of cultural history. This approach can explain how and why the NHS has become the defining institution of contemporary Britain.

Open Access (free)
Writing about Personal Experiences of Humanitarianism
Róisín Read
Tony Redmond
, and
Gareth Owen

the sceptics in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) the value this work brings back to the NHS. Even if you do not share my motives there is an element of enlightened self-interest for us at home when we return with what we’ve learned overseas in these large-scale medical humanitarian crises. GO: I cover some aspects of this in the preface to the book because it was really what the publisher wanted to see. I acknowledge all the criticisms of humanitarianism and I was not intending to mount a defence or rebuttal. Rather, I was seeking to offer some nuance in

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
‘I’m afraid[,] there’s no NHS’
Sally Sheard

Commas are such useful nuancing devices. The careful positioning of a comma between ‘I’m afraid’ and ‘there’s no NHS’ changes the intent from a very English expression of disappointment into a personal statement of fear. Both seem appropriate when we consider the history and current state of the English National Health Service. Technically, the ‘NHS’ is on shaky ground as a legal entity. The institution created in 1948 was the ‘National Health Service’. That was the title of the 1946 Act of

in Posters, protests, and prescriptions