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Socialized medicine is a system of health care delivery in which care is provided as a state-supported service. The term was introduced in 1954 by an American academic – Almont Lindsay – on a study visit to the United Kingdom. On his return to the USA, he published a book called Socialized Medicine in England and Wales (Lindsay 1962), describing the history, organization, and structure of the National Health Service (NHS). However, the term socialized medicine” is one that tends to be used by observers” (particularly North American observers) of the UK health service and it is less commonly heard within the UK itself (Webster 2002: 1). This may be because the British NHS is considered by many analysts to be a unique example of socialized medicine. Indeed, it is often described as a socialist island in a capitalist sea.” In this respect it forms part of a welfare system which rests on collective provision, social justice, social equality, and democracy in order to mitigate the adverse effects of capitalism. The fundamental principles of the NHS are therefore: that it should be publicly funded (predominantly by taxation); health care should be universal and be provided on the basis of health need” rather than the ability to pay; and services should be comprehensive in that they should include preventive health services as well as treatment for those who are ill.
Webster, C. (2002) The National Health Service: A Political History. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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