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Agonies of reform: changes in the British National Health Service

Satyajit Bhattacharya


The British National Health Service (NHS) of today has its origins in the NHS Act of 1946, passed in Parliament by the post-World War II Labour Government of Clement Atlee. The Act very explicitly set out the objectives of the NHS: to provide an adequate and comprehensive healthcare system, available to all citizens, funded from taxation, and free at the point of delivery. Aneurin Bevan, the Health Minister at the time, proceeded to set up an NHS that, over the years, succeeded in achieving those goals to a very large extent, and became a model aspired to by many developing nations.

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