Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Information In Practice

Effect of diverging policy across the NHS

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 20 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:946

Rapid Response:

Resigning issue: NHS charges

Alvarez-Rosete et al are astonished at the difficulty in obtaining
some basic NHS statistics. I am astonished at their statement that “Since
1948 the NHS has provided universal coverage that is free at the point of

In 1951 Nye Bevan and Harold Wilson resigned from the Labour
government because their colleagues forced through a proposal to introduce
prescription charges, and fees for dental and optical care (1). Labour
introduced the fees for dentures and spectacles before losing the 1951
election. The victorious Conservatives activated the prescription charge.

(1) Foot M. Aneurin Bevan. Vol. 2. 1945--1960. London: Davis-Poynter,

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 November 2005
John Doherty
Medical Director
IAEA ; A1400