The Americanization of the British National Health Service: A typological approach

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  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Leicester


There have been many different claims that the British National Health Service (NHS) is becoming ‘Americanized’. Focusing on the United Kingdom, this article critically analyses the “Americanization” of the NHS in three main sections. First, we explore the basic meanings of the term. Second, we examine the development of the discourse about Americanization. Third, we focus on one of many possible meanings of Americanization, namely system change. Focusing on this most demanding dimension of Americanization, we suggest that most changes have been ‘internal changes of levels’ (where there is a shift of levels in one or more dimensions but without changing the dominant form) or ‘internal system changes’ (where only one dimension changes its dominant form) rather than a ‘system change’ (from one ideal type to another).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number7
Early online date21 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Americanization, British National Health Service, Policy change, System change