Royal Commission on the National Health Service 1976 – 1979. Wikipedia) The report can be downloaded from the Socialist Health Association, and it seems recommendations were not enacted and the report hung out to dry because government changed: Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister. A letter from Frank Welsh, now living in France, makes it clear.
You are right, if hardly alone, in pointing out that the National Health Service is in a mess (“Accident and emergency”, September 10th). But perhaps you are a little late? A royal commission reported in 1979 that, with an older population and often-expensive technical advances, costs would inevitably grow. We concluded that society must therefore “establish priorities” that would “satisfy reasonable expectations”. To do so would require extensive discussions that must be “conducted in public” and “illuminated by fact”.
Reorganisation has been succeeded by reorganisation for nearly 40 years, but this basic debate has never been held, for unfortunately obvious reasons. Any admission that health demands must be modified and services restricted, which reasonable expectations and priorities must imply, would be politically embarrassing. But the pill, if bitter, must be swallowed, and the sooner the better.
Member of the Royal Commission on the NHS 1976-79
Update 2nd October. Article from the Economist 10th September Accident and Emergency added.