Birth of the National Health Service | The early history of the NHS
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1948
From: Miss Benzie 204 B.H.
Subject: NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE ACT
[Handwritten note: "Thank you - please keep this should we re-open the controversy]
1st March, 1948.
For information, please: attached B.M.J. page 409, letter from Dr. Warren Barnes.
If we were doing anything more about the Act, we should perhaps like to bear in mind that discussion without mentioning two underlying considerations may never be very fruitful. These considerations are on the one hand money (very many doctors may (? must) dislike the act because they will lose or fear to lose money - but they never say so. On the other hand doctors often but the Government never mention certification: does the Government really intend control of certification (to keep the fund solvent and our production noses to the grindstone?)
There is also the other consideration which I think interesting to be brought out: viz., control of prescribing. How far, if at all does control of prescribing (prohibition of expensive drugs) militate under the present National Health Insurance scheme against the best treatment of patients? Will such disadvantages to patients continue to operate under the National Health Service Act? And will the articulate educated patient who will now be insurable be able to speak up and bring pressure to bear so that these disadvantages will be removed from all patients? Finally can the educated articulate individual in our society be said to have any duty - by virtue of his educational advantages - towards his fellow - insured; shou1d he take part and speak up? Doctors are
increasingly inclined to act as our defenders as well as their own: to make a lot of capital out of this doctor-patient relationship, which is very frequently non-existent, negative or antagonistic; and now to claim that they must prevent us being milked of tenpence a week on July 5th and "getting nothing in return."
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Document Type | Memo
01 March 1948
A producer in the Radio Talks Department considers how the BBC should deal with controversies arising out of doctors' concerns about who should control the prescription of medicines.
Prescriptions were free to patients until 1952, when a fee of one shilling was introduced, the equivalent of 5p today. A flat rate charge of one pound for dental treatment was also introduced that year.
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