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The political economy of health careWhere the NHS came from and where it could lead$
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Julian Tudor Hart

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427830

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427830.001.0001

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What does it produce?

What does it produce?

Chapter:
(p.10) (p.11) Two What does it produce?
Source:
The political economy of health care
Author(s):

Julian Tudor Hart

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847427830.003.0002

Health is not the only sort of wealth which the NHS produces, but like all health care systems, whether for fees, profit or public service, this purports to be its principal product. For commercial health care, for professional or corporate trade, health gain is in fact a byproduct. It is necessarily subordinated to the profit required to justify the business of either entrepreneur professionals or corporate providers. Only through public service is it possible to set health gain as a planned social goal and a direct objective. As an independent gift economy, the pre-reform NHS had social authority and public trust. As a principal byproduct, it helped to provide a robust social framework both for the accumulation of wealth and for the development of new social customs and institutions for a future cooperative society, and new patterns of useful employment.

Keywords:   NHS, wealth, health care systems, commercial health care, health gain, public service

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