The Rockefeller Foundation and the British National Health Service

Dec 18, 2018 | by
  • Description

Established on 5th July 1948, the British National Health Service (NHS) provides free-at-the-point-of-use universal health care to Great Britain's entire population. Though most industrialized countries now ensure some form of comprehensive medical coverage, the British system is structurally unusual in several ways: it does not require any form of health insurance; the government owns the overwhelming majority of the U.K.'s hospitals and clinics; and it employs a vast pool of employees comprising the world's fifth largest workforce. The service is also culturally and socially unique. It is celebrated as "the closest thing the English have to a religion" and regularly tops polls of what makes people "most proud to be British." Yet, the institution's acclaim and longevity is striking considering its scarce resources, uneven health outcomes, and the dismantling of nationalized enterprises across the world. My research asks why the NHS has survived for nearly seventy years, and, in doing so, highlights specific endurances to a postwar social democratic ethic in health care