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May 31, 1965

The Hospitals 1800-1948: A Study in Social Administration in England and Wales

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC


By Brian Abel-Smith. 514 pp, with illus. $9. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 38, Mass, 1964

JAMA. 1965;192(9):789. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080220053031

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On July 5, 1948, most of Britain's hospitals were nationalized— a step taken finally with the benediction of both the British Medical Association and hospital administrators. Behind the passage of the National Health Service Act lay over a century of community responsibility for providing some form of hospital care for the sick. In this detailed study, Dr. Brian Abel-Smith, reader in social administration at the London School of Economics and Political Science, traces the development of hospitals "for physical disease," against the broad social and economic background underlying the organization of medical care in England and Wales.

In this volume the transitions from pauper to public hospitals, and the changes in social attitudes regarding the use of hospitals, are well charted by a recognized authority in the economics of medical care. Unlike the United States and many Western European countries, England did not develop pay hospitals until late in the

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