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July 1975

National Health Insurance: A View From Great Britain

Author Affiliations

From the Nuffield Provincial Hospital Trust, London.

Arch Intern Med. 1975;135(7):900-903. doi:10.1001/archinte.1975.00330070022003

The National Health Service in Britain is not based on insurance principles insofar as one buys a premium for an indemnity against contingencies affecting personal health, all the way down the scale to disaster. Indeed, it is by intent the provision of a structured service to enable the population to cope with the onslaught of ill health, chronic as well as acute and episodic. It would be appropriate therefore to say that a broad objective of the National Health Service, from the very conception, has been to assure the population of comprehensive health service throughout the life of the individual. This has been the commitment, and the National Health Service has always been seen as part of a social security package.

It is also a means of spreading the risk on a national basis, the ultimate form of which inevitably involves the spreading of available resources, the implementation of which

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