Health and Hospitals in Post War Manchester: What Difference Did the NHS Make?

John Pickstone

SONY DSCCentre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester


Without WWII, British health services would probably have continued to be run largely by the Local Authorities, as Manchester Council had hoped. Without the Labour victory in 1945, the City would probably have retained its big (ex poor-law) hospitals, and the teaching hospitals would probably have gained state funds, distributed through a local/regional co-ordinating body, as pioneered in Manchester in the 1930s. So what did happen in terms of ownership and control? Who ran the early NHS in Manchester, and what were they able to do in a period of shortages, when increases in expenditure went mainly to education and housing, and then from the early 1960s when hospital building became a priority? For a city/region with some powerful national players, we will explore the ground level consequences of formative national politics.

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John Pickstone is the Wellcome Research Professor in the Centre for
the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, in the Faculty of Life
Scinces of the University of Manchester,
Born and raised in Burnley, Lancashire, he studied Natural Sciences,
especially physiology at Cambridge and at Queen’s University,
Canada. He held fellowships in History of Medicine at the University
of Minnesota (1971-3) and at University College London (1974),
before moving in 1974 to the Department of History of Science and
Technology, UMIST, Manchester, to work on the history of hospitals in
the Manchester region. His long-standing interest in the regional history
of science and medicine has been renewed in edited volumes, and
through recent studies of Manchester since WWII, including work on
Manchester Public Health, the Central Teaching Hospitals, and the
development of biology and medicine in the University.


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