Birth of the National Health Service | The early history of the NHS
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1948
From: Talks Department, 204 B.H. CONFIDENTAL
Subject: NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
To: 1. H. T. D. 2. C.T.
26th April 1948
[Handwritten note: "This is most interesting. Thank you very much." Rest of text illegible.]
Dr. Hill breakfasted with me on Friday morning - he says all is over bar the shouting. This is not merely an opinion but obviously his determined policy. It is not yet, as we can all see, his Council's policy, and no persuasive powers of his would make the Council omit from the memorandum accompanying the voting papers the statement that the freedom of the profession is still inadequately secure (he is pleased at having worded this passage of the memorandum in what he thinks is a meaningless way). He is already regarded with some suspicion by the Council's Right wing and has been unpleasantly reminded of the existence of the extreme Right wing of the profession which is against a National Health Service of any kind. The present plebiscite will at least allow him to measure the extent of the crumble, to date, in the profession. He is clearly convinced that individual doctors will crumble as they did in 1912.
Nevertheless the Plebiscite may result in a vote against the Service. If it did, and with the crumble taken for granted, the B.M.A. will be in a position awkward almost beyond words, with everybody closely concerned looking remarkably and very publicly stupid.
Dr. Hill. seems to me a little naively surprised at the extent to which some doctors are ratting in private, while they are still very loud-mouthed in public against the Service.
There is a good deal more information available but it is mostly very frank opinion on personalities and their manoeuvres, better conveyed by word of mouth if needed, but useful in case of any further broadcast on the subject.
Dr Hill is [handwritten note: "it seems"] altogether in concert with Mr. Eccles at the present time. (I have myself no doubt that Charles Hill was severely surprised by the lack of Opposition support in the debate of the other month, and that his own change of direction dates from then).
(I.DB/GP) (I. D. Benzie)
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Document Type | Memo
26 April 1948
Producer Isa Benzie keeps the head of the Radio Talks Department up to date with Dr Charles Hill's view on the current state of play in the battle between government and doctors over negotiations on status and pay.
Dr Hill was secretary of the British Medical Association from 1945 until 1948 and during that time he fought hard to ensure that the new National Health Service would incorporate the principle of families choosing their own doctor and that general practitioners could retain their independence and not become a state-salaried service.
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