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December 18, 1967

Doctors' Strike: Medical Care and Conflict in Saskatchewan

JAMA. 1967;202(12):1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130250092029

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In Saskatchewan, Canada, most physicians suspended practice in July 1962 when the socialist government introduced a universal compulsory variety of medicare. The impasse lasted 23 days and ended in a compromise strongly favoring the government. This unhappy episode, probably the most dramatic and best publicized in North American social medicine, deserves a careful, accurate, and dispassionate assessment. Doctors' Strike fails to provide this assessment, although the book will unquestionably be an important source text for future historians.

The authors provide a capable resumé of the Saskatchewan government's interest in health and medicine over the past three decades. This brief account plus the detailed narrative of the 1962 crisis constitute two thirds of the book; the remainder includes interesting chapters on medical care as a social issue, social welfare, the doctor's role in society, and the conflicts in 20th-century medical care.

Badgley and Wolfe admit bias. They were professorial colleagues at