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The price of cohesion

Britain was a very different place when the NHS was born in 1948. In order to preserve the principle of a universal service the NHS will have to abandon the principle of a free one

By John Willman   July 1998

The nhs is one of Britain’s great institutions, touching the life of almost every citizen. The largest employer in the country, it delivers us into the world, protects children from once-fatal illnesses, maintains our bodies as parts wear out and helps us reach our three score years and ten. Now the health service is itself ageing: like many people at 50, time is beginning to take its toll.

The world in which the NHS now finds itself is different from that of its youth. Although we are oddly loath to admit it, Britain today is a much richer country. Per…

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