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Views And Reviews

Should local government run the NHS?

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 09 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5962
  1. Andrew Furber, president
  1. Association of Directors of Public Health (UK)
  1. afurber{at}

A white paper published by the Conservative government in 1944 proposed that a new National Health Service should be managed by local authorities.1 The Labour Party was split on the matter, but after its general election victory in 1945 Aneurin Bevan proposed a plan favouring nationalisation of all hospitals. And so the NHS was born.

Nearly 70 years later the role of local government in the NHS is once again being debated. The integration of services delivered through local authorities and the NHS is under way in every part of the United Kingdom. In England several NHS clinical commissioning groups are now led by local government officers. So should the NHS be run by local authorities, and would it be better?

Aneurin Bevan marked the birth of the NHS …

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