The financial health of voluntary hospitals in interwar Britain



This article re–evaluates the gravity of the financial problems facing British voluntary hospitals in the interwar period. A relational database of statistics on hospital provision, finance (at both current and constant prices), and activity is used to derive consistent sets of hospitals for reporting purposes. The article presents novel analyses of the extent and pattern of hospital surpluses and deficits; of the capital accounts of selected individual hospitals; of trends in hospital expenditure; of the diversification of hospital income, emphasizing the declining importance of traditional philanthropy; and of the effect of these changes on hospital provision and utilization.