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Title: The Scottish roots of the National Health Service
Author: McCrae, W. Morrice
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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The National Health Service was created separately in Scotland by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act of 1947. In explanation, the official history of the NHS offers that the English Bill had been adapted in March 1946 to suit the characteristic administrative and geographic conditions of Scotland. At the time it had even been suggested that the Scottish Bill could be regarded as 'a faint echo of its English counterpart'. This thesis rejects such an explanation. Twentieth century progress towards a state medical service began in Britain at a time when government decisions were influenced by nationalism, most pressing in Ireland but significant also in Scotland. In 1911, like Ireland, Scotland was given its own National Insurance Commission. This was the beginning of a new and separate health bureaucracy. The Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Board, the Scottish Health Board, and the Department of Health for Scotland followed. The Highlands and Islands Board set up the first comprehensive medical service in Britain. Independent of the Ministry of Health, and stimulated by the particular severity of the effects of the Depression in Scotland, the Scottish health bureaucracy made its own plans for the reform of all the country's health services, culminating in the Cathcart Report in 1936. (Since there had been little similar planning by the Ministry of Health the early White Paper on the National Health Service for Britain, hastily drawn up in 1944, was based on the Cathcart Report). When introducing his National Health Service (Scotland) Bill, the Secretary of State stated that his Bill was a Scottish Bill, based on the experience of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service and on the recommendations of the Cathcart Report. The creation of the National Health Service in Scotland therefore had a history peculiar to itself. A separate evolution, influenced by the distinctive medical traditions in Scotland, created a National Health Service that was different not only in important features of its organisation but in also its ethos and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available