Why the NHS needs to remain a National Health Service in the 21st Century

1.A Free Health Service
2.A Communal Responsibility
3.State Funding of the NHS
4.The NHS is not a Welfare State
5.Triumphant Collective Action
6.The Cautious Medical Profession
7.Pay Beds in the NHS
8.The Equipment of a Civilized Society


The Cautious Medical Profession

The medical profession is cautious, some say unduly so, in accepting new ideas. This has been impressed upon me over and over again by those who claim to have discovered methods of treatment and cure other than those normally practised by the profession.

On the other hand, it is my experience that unorthodox practitioners are often the worst quacks, and when offered a fair hearing, unwilling to expose themselves to the disciplines of controlled experiment and verification. As a general rule they advance testimony in place of evidence and credibility in place of informed conviction.

There is no alternative to self-government by the medical profession in all matters affecting the content of its academic life, although there is every justification for lay co-operation in the economy in which that is carried out. The distinction between the two is real.

It is for the community to provide the apparatus of medicine for the doctor. It is for him to use it freely in accordance with the standards of his profession and the requirements of his oath.

(Excerpts from Bevan, A. 1952. “A Free Health Service”. In “In Place of Fear”: 77-97)

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Page Updated: 27 May, 2017


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