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The NHS: Back in the emergency room

Since its birth, the NHS has periodically seen off financial crises, charges of unsustainability, and wheezes to fund healthcare in new ways. Is this time any different?

By Nicholas Timmins   April 2017

Nurse Gina Oldfield protests outside parliament against Health Secretary Barbara Castle's plans to phase out agency nurses from NHS hospitals, October 1975 ©Tresco/Anl/Rex/Shutterstock

Back in 1974, one of my first press conferences as a health reporter was at the British Medical Association (BMA). Such events were then a rarity, although they were soon to become anything but. Shortly after, and for the first time in the history of the National Health Service, hospital consultants were working-to-rule (doing the minimum required by the rules of their contract) over Barbara Castle’s…

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