70 years of the NHS

As the 70th anniversary of the NHS Act coming into force is celebrated, History & Policy’s network of expert historians can offer historical context and parallels from the past, to help policymakers and media make sense of unfolding events. If you would like to speak to any of the experts featured, please contact us. If you would like to submit a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.


Policy Papers

Whistle-blowing in the National Health Service since the 1960s

Claire Hilton traces the similarities between problems in the NHS in the 1960s and those today, and suggests how effective whistle-blowing systems can drive change.

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Diagnosing a flight from care: medical migration and ‘dirty work’ in the NHS

Policy makers should recognise the vital contribution of migrant medics to Britain's healthcare system and support them, argues Dr Julian Simpson, of Manchester University. Since 1948 the NHS has been dependent on overseas-trained doctors who fill jobs vacated by emigrating British medics. 

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Choice, policy and practice in maternity care since 1948

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Doctors in Whitehall: medical advisers at the 60th anniversary of the NHS

Sally Sheard's History & Policy paper on Doctors in Whitehall was discussed in Society Guardian.

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Hospital governance and community involvement in Britain: evidence from before the National Health Service

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Financing health care in Britain since 1939

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Patients’ rights: from Alder Hey to the Nuremberg Code

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Opinion Articles

Prince Harry and the history of mental health stigma policy

Chris Millard traces the history of policy designed to tackle stigma, contextualising both "celebrity" action and the mooted scrapping of the Mental Health Act 1983.

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When do Doctors Strikes end? A perspective from 1975

As the junior doctors’ strike continues, Jack Saunders takes a historical look at how the current industrial dispute may be resolved.  

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Can we never learn? Abuse, complaints and inquiries in the NHS

While past abuse scandals have galvanised public inquiries, Professor Sally Sheard shows that wider institutional barriers, and politics, can influence whether a minister drives through change. 

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Paying for health: Lansley’s woes and pre-NHS healthcare

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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