Sixty Years On - Who Cares for the NHS?

89 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2008

Date Written: June 22, 2008


Politicians will go to any lengths to persuade the voting public that the National Health Service is safe in their hands. Alternative policy models cannot be placed before the electorate unless political parties take huge risks. Yet, at the same time, we see even a Labour government drawing private finance into the health service and giving patients rights to use the private sector. This groundbreaking new study shows that, although politicians do not feel confident in proposing radical new models of healthcare, elite opinion in the media, in political circles, in academia and in policy think tanks has fallen out of love with the idea of a centrally planned health service provided and financed by government. Elite opinion does not, as yet, warm to a free market in healthcare. Although aspects of a market-based system are accepted, ideas of 'market failure' loom large - especially amongst the political class. Nevertheless, the author shows how some groups of opinion formers are prepared to be more radical. These groups, she believes, may in time be effective in promoting a vision of a market in healthcare that is free from government interference and from the stifling power of government-granted professional monopolies.

Keywords: National Health Service, NHS, Free market healthcare

JEL Classification: D42, D73, H11, H40, H51, I00, I10

Suggested Citation

Evans, Helen, Sixty Years On - Who Cares for the NHS? (June 22, 2008). Institute of Economic Affairs Monograph Research Paper No. 63, Available at SSRN: or

Helen Evans (Contact Author)

National Health Service

London, SW1A 2NS
United Kingdom

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