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Clocks, Cheeses and Sticks: Approaches to managing waiting in the NHS since 1948

Park House, University of Birmingham, The Courtyard Room
Social Sciences
Thursday 26th September 2019 (16:00-18:00)
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Jennie Oldfield –

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Waiting for treatment has been integral to the British NHS since its creation in 1948. The size of lists, and the length of time patients wait, have become key operational indicators of the efficiency of the system.

Waiting has also been used as evidence of unacceptable rationing and the persistence of regional inequalities in a supposedly ‘national’ system. This seminar will discuss the evolution of waiting list management, and how clinicians, managers, economists and operational researchers have been employed to address this significant, chronic dilemma.

Sally Sheard is the Andrew Geddes and John Rankin Professor of Modern History at the University of Liverpool, UK, with a special interest in the interface between expert advisers and policymakers. She is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, currently leading a seven year project: The Governance of Health: medical, economic and managerial expertise in Britain since 1948.  Her latest book is The Passionate Economist: how Brian Abel-Smith shaped global health and social welfare (Policy Press, 2013). She has also written on the history of hospitals, political economy of public health, finance of British medicine, development of the NHS, and medical education. She has extensive experience of using history in public and policy engagement, working with local and national government organisations. In 2018 she wrote and presented the twenty part BBC Radio 4 series National Health Stories.

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