The Conservative Party and the form of the National Health Service, 1964 - 1979
This thesis focuses on the development of the Conservative Party's policy in respect of the form of the National Health Service in England between the general elections of 1964 and 1979. By form is meant the basic principles of the Service and the organisational arrangements (structure, management processes and financing) made to give effect to those principles. After an account of the form of the NHS in 1964, the thesis documents the development of Conservative Party policy on those aspects of form to which attention was given between 1964 and 1979. In doing so, it draws extensively on primary material, much of which (especially that relating to the Party's periods in Opposition) has not, as far as the author can discover, been brought together previously in an historical study. By examining this material in its appropriate context, it is hoped that the thesis makes intelligible a passage of history quite tightly circumscribed both in terms of subject and period. Insofar as an overall theme might be said to emerge, it is of a Party committed to the idea of a comprehensive health service, uncomfortable with the consequences of aspects of the form enacted in 1946 but, conscious of the popularity of the NHS, cautious about making radical changes.