The Battle for Health: A Political History of the Socialist Medical Association, 1930–51

1st Edition

John Stewart

Published June 5, 2019
Reference - 259 Pages
ISBN 9781138350410 - CAT# K395195
Series: Routledge Revivals

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First published in 1999, this is the first scholarly study of the Socialist Medical Association (SMA), an organisation of left-wing medical practitioners founded in 1930 and affiliated to the Labour Party in the following year. The SMA’s aim was a free, comprehensive, and universal state medical service, democratically controlled and with all personnel, including doctors, working as salaried employees. In the 1930s and early 1940s the organisation gained increasing influence over Labour Party health policy, and consequently saw its activities as central to the creation of the National Health Service (NHS). However, once Labour was actually in power, the SMA became more and more marginalised, in part because of its difficult relationship with the Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan. Bevan, while inaugurating a service which had many features desired by the Association, none the less also felt obliged to make compromises with the medical profession. The SMA’s activities are therefore of historical interest in providing a further view of the creation of the NHS, while its ideas and proposals continue to raise serious questions about issues such as the nature and control of social welfare and the possibility of achieving a truly socialised health service.


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