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A History of Britain's Best Loved Institution

Andrew Seaton

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An engaging, inclusive history of the NHS, exploring its surprising survival—and the people who have kept it running
In recent decades, a wave of appreciation for the NHS has swept across the UK. Britons have clapped for frontline workers and championed the service as a distinctive national achievement. All this has happened in the face of ideological opposition, marketization, and workforce crises. But how did the NHS become what it is today?
In this wide-ranging history, Andrew Seaton examines the full story of the NHS. He traces how the service has changed and adapted, bringing together the experiences of patients, staff from Britain and abroad, and the service’s wider supporters and opponents. He explains not only why it survived the neoliberalism of the late twentieth century but also how it became a key marker of national identity. Seaton emphasizes the resilience of the NHS—perpetually “in crisis” and yet perennially enduring—as well as the political values it embodies and the work of those who have tirelessly kept it afloat.

Andrew Seaton is the Plumer Junior Research Fellow in History at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. An expert in the history of modern Britain and the NHS, he received his PhD in history from New York University in 2021.

ISBN: 9780300268270
Publication Date: July 18, 2023
320 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
8pp. color + 20 b/w illus.