The recent health reforms in the United Kingdom: some tentative observations on their impact on nurses and nursing in hospitals


  • Peter L Bradshaw MA BNurs RGN RMN RHV RNT

    1. Head of Division of Health, Social Work and Community Studies, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, England
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The British National Health Service has recently undergone the most profound reforms since it was conceived some 50 years ago In an attempt to contain the rising cost of spending the principles of market competition have been introduced Similar developments are occurring internationally This paper describes briefly the history of the reforms in the United Kingdom It outlines the rationale for a market in health services which is largely publicly funded The paper then provides an analysis of the serious impact of the new business culture on the control of nurses and nursing work in hospitals In doing so, it identifies the threats which confront the future well-being of the nursing profession It concludes with a brief resumé of opportunities which the profession must seize if it is to retain its identity