Building the NHS: planning, public opinion and Britain’s new state hospitals, 1945–1974

Year of award: 2018


  • Edward DeVane

    University of Warwick

Project summary

Whether due to wartime bomb damage or decades of under-investment, the poor condition of inherited hospital services was one of the earliest crises the NHS had to contend with. For almost 14 years, no central government policy came close to providing adequate support for the construction of new facilities. Despite this, the planning and design of hospitals continued as a dynamic, local and often contentious process, which is symbolic of how the wider health service developed and acquired meaning.   

I will use four hospital-based case studies from England, Scotland and Wales from 1945 to 1974. I will emphasise previously untapped archive documents created by regional and local tiers of the NHS. I will make a case for the importance of public engagement in the NHS in the past and present and will challenge current and contemporary interpretations of British health policy.