The National Health Service in Scotland, 1947–74: Scottish or British?



Using previously unused or underused primary evidence, this article analyses the National Health Service in Scotland from its inception in 1947 to the reorganization of 1974. A thematic approach is adopted to show that, on the one hand, the Scottish health services were subject to similar Treasury constraints on expenditure as elsewhere in Great Britain; but that, on the other, there is a strong case for seeing the N.H.S. in Scotland as exhibiting a high degree of autonomy. It is further argued that this was, from the outset, justified and consolidated by the particular characteristics of Scottish history, geography and governance.