[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 16, 1970

The British National Health Service

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1970;211(11):1859. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170110065029

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


"A devilish concept of political ideologues and dogmatists... or a sincere effort to improve the lot of ordinary people when they are sick?" The question was asked, and answered, at a seminar on the British National Health Service arranged by the American College of Hospital Administrators. The nine lectures have now been published in paperback. The British experiment has many lessons for America.

In the first of two lectures, Prof. T.E. Chester, an expert in hospital administration and management, describes the circumstances which led to the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. It was a natural sequel to the emergency medical services operating in Britain during the war. In the second he describes the organizational structure of the service, and comments on the recurrent criticisms the system has incurred.

In other lectures, the detailed workings of individual hospitals, local authorities, and the Ministry of Health are discussed