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November 3, 1962

Socialized Medicine in England and Wales; the National Health Service, 1948-1961

JAMA. 1962;182(5):595. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050440087032

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Books and pamphlets about the British National Health Service (NHS) have appeared in America in increasing numbers during recent years. This is, however, the first comprehensive survey of its historical development. The book's chief merit is the exhaustive study of reports on all phases of the program. Lindsey's main concerns are the quality of medical care, the doctor-patient relationship, medical research, and performance of hospital service. The historical approach gives the book its strength, but also its main shortcoming. In order to understand the NHS, it is essential to know the historical background from which it was born and has grown up; however, this is not enough. An evaluation of the NHS, as a system of financing and supplying medical care, is necessary and inevitable. It is in this area that the historical approach encounters severe limitations. The basis of judgment cannot be the historical development of the health service

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