NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health CareBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7478.1349 (Published 02 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1349
- Colin Douglas, geriatrician and novelist
Forty years ago, when on a gap year in a remote secondary school in post-colonial Ghana, I was summoned by the headmaster and informed that we had in our library a book the government didn't think we should read. It must therefore be taken out into the bush and burned. Curiously, he suggested the boy for the job, a junior member of the library committee. So I handed both our dog eared copies of Animal Farm to young Kwesi, who nodded thoughtfully and took them away. I never saw them again, but somehow Orwell's fable of Soviet Russia became instantly famous within the school: a cultish clandestine “must read,” passed in secret round the dormitories and quoted and laughed over at breaks—a powerful and brightly topical polemic in a darkening political landscape.
Of course such things could never happen here, but the most gripping section in NHS plc, Allyson Pollock's defence of an NHS under political onslaught, describes her experience in November 2001 …