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October 1977

Private Beds and the British National Health Service: Their Relation to University Surgery

Arch Surg. 1977;112(10):1248-1249. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370100102022

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When the National Health Service was set up in Britain in 1948, many of the medical profession feared that it might bring a decrease in freedom not only for patients, but for the profession. In the early years, these fears seemed unfounded, but in more recent times, the general increase in socialism in the world at large, and particularly in Britain, has coincided with changes in the Health Service that suggest that the fears might have been justified.

One of the changes has been a revision of the arrangement whereby some beds in Health Service hospitals, often in distinct floors or wings, were available for use on a private basis. Under that arrangement, the patient, even though he might already be fully eligible for hospital treatment under the National Health Insurance scheme, paid the full cost of hospitalization while in one of these beds, together with the medical fees of

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