The above may strike some observers as a reasonable description of the National Health Service (NHS) after twelve years of ‘Thatcherism’ and a longer period of Conservative government. In fact, it is a description of the NHS hospital services in the 1950s — another lengthy period of Conservative government, but not one so associated with radical rhetoric and policy agendas about the ‘welfare state’ (see Eckstein, 1958, pp. 259–60, and Kendall and Moon, 1990, pp. 103–4).
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