Interest groups and the National Health Service Act, 1946

Willcocks, Arthur J. (1953). Interest groups and the National Health Service Act, 1946. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This is a case study of the development of plans for a piece of legislation and of the part played in that process by interest or pressure groups. It examines the wording of the National Health Service Act, 1946 and, in contrast, the health services of 1939. The main events of 1939 to 1946 are surveyed together with a review of the interest groups and their views.
The main evidence of the study shows the development of plans for a National Health Service from the first plan put forward by Mr. E. Brown as Minister of Health (the plan of his officials rather than himself) through the 'White Paper of 1944 and the Revised White Paper of 1945 (both prepared by Mr. H.U. Willink as Minister) to the final plan adopted in the Act of 1946. Studied section by section the plan adopted by Mr. Sevan is shown as a development of the previous plans, together with changes necessary by the arrival of a new and powerful interest group, the Labour Party, rather than any dogmatic expression of party views. This analysis brings out quite clearly the following pattern. In the first place an official’s plan (Brown Plan) was prepared as a necessary basis for discussion with the groups. (Mr. Brown discarded it and therefore was unable to make any definite progress). As a result of these discussions, another plan (the White Paper) was drawn up as a basis for more detailed discussion (or negotiation). Bit by bit a plan emerged from this further discussion which seemed to command general agreement among the main groups. This, plan, the revised White Paper plan, was being translated into legislation when the general election of 1945 brought a change of government. Mr. Bevan, the new Minister, adopted the previous plan and applied to it, as far as he considered necessary to ensure his party's support, the views of the Labour Party. The result was the National Health Service Act, 1946.
In a final section some suggestions for a wider study on the role of interest groups in the drafting of legislation are made.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Commerce and Social Sciences
School or Department: Social Study
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform


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