Border Crossings: charity and voluntarism in Britain's mixed economy of health care since 1948


  • Prof John Mohan

    University of Birmingham

  • Prof Martin Gorsky

    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

  • Prof Bernard Harris

    University of Strathclyde

  • Dr Ellen Stewart

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

The NHS is famously a state-run health service, yet it has always made space for some charitable activities. These include some of the wealthiest charities in the country. The boundaries between state-run and charitably-run activities have shifted over the decades. What difference do these unusual charitable actors make, and how should policy manage them in the future?

We will study how health policy has understood, and sought to change, the role of charities in the NHS. We will also analyse the amount and distribution of charitable fundraising for NHS charities and study a selection of NHS charities historically and in the present day.

We will develop a collective account of the effects – both positive and problematic – of these organisations in the UK health system. This will change our understanding of the NHS and inform suggestions for the future of charities in the NHS.