Article ID: CBB003140245

The Gospel of Wealth and the National Health: The Rockefeller Foundation and Social Medicine in Britain's NHS, 1945–60 (2020)


This article examines the Rockefeller Foundation's (RF) engagement with the British National Health Service (NHS) between 1945 and 1960. It argues that the organization morally invested in the success of the NHS because, to them, it offered a world-inspiring model for how to provide medical care following the tenets of social medicine. The RF administratively and financially supported two health centers, in Edinburgh and Manchester, to help realize these ambitions. While the development of both centers exposed conflicting understandings of social medicine, these facilities later became important examples when British health centers expanded in number after the mid-1960s. The article also considers how the shift toward more communal forms of general practice provoked unease regarding privacy among patients. However, strategies used by medical professionals to offset these anxieties helped facilitate public acceptance of forms of care that aligned with the communitarian values of social democracy. The connections between American private philanthropy and British state planning show how a routine visit to the doctor in Edinburgh or Manchester in the 1950s was implicated in the broader politics of postwar global health.

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Authors & Contributors
Gorsky, Martin
Stewart, John
Sheard, Sally
Rodríguez Ocaña, Esteban
Hall, Lesley A.
Perry, M.
Social History of Medicine
Medical History
Twentieth-Century British History
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Clarendon Press
University Press of America
European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Publications
New York University
Public health
Medicine and society
Health care
Medicine and government
Medicine and politics
Murray, David Stark
Bevin, Aneurin
Great Britain
Manchester (England)
Sri Lanka
Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
21st century
18th century
National Health Service (Great Britain)
Rockefeller Foundation

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