Royal Commission on the National Health Service 1976 – 1979 seems to have warned us well in advance..

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
Confolens, France

Read the report.

The Nuffield Trust lists all the reports on the old pre-devolution NHS

Image result for sangfroid cartoon

Update 2nd October. Article from the Economist 10th September Accident and Emergency added.



This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s