Hospital accounting and the history of health-care rationing

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Focussing on the period from 1948 to 1997, this paper examines the history of rationing in the British National Health Service (NHS), with special reference to the role of hospital accounting in this context. The paper suggests that concerns regarding rationing first emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in response to the application of economic theories to the health services, and that rationing only became an issue of wider concern when the NHS increasingly came to resemble economic models of health services in the early 1990s. The paper moreover argues that, unlike in the USA, hospital accounting did not play a significant role in allocating or withholding health resources in Britain. Rudimentary information systems as well as resistance from medical professionals are identified as significant factors in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-199
JournalAccounting History Review
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2015


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