SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MMV312081
Module Leader John Stewart
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject History
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Programme Entry Requirements, Normally an Upper Second Honours Degree in History or Cognate Discipline.

Summary of Content

This module analyses the origins and development of the National Health Service in Britain from the creation of the Ministry of Health in 1919 through the passage of the NHS Acts in the mid-1940s down to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on the political debates which surrounded proposals for a socialised health service and on what it was such a service sought to achieve, and with what success. Emphasis is also placed on the historiographical debates over the service's aims and outcomes.


Topics dealt with will include: 1. the impact of the First World War on health care provision 2. the significance of municipal medicine in the inter-war period 3. debates over health care in the 1940s 4. consensus and conflict, 1946-1979 5. the health service in the era of Thatcherism, New Labour, and Political Devolution.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to: 1. interpret a range of appropriate primary sources.2. understand the historical debates about health care in twentieth century Britain.3. understand why Britain introduced the type of health service it did, and with what consequences.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This is a seminar based course which encourages discussion and debate. The module leader will introduce the particular sessional topic and students will then engage with primary sources/historiographical debates through materials supplied by the module leader. Students will also be asked to make oral presentations on particular, pre-selected, primary sources. Assessment will be by a book review (end week 4, worth 25%); an analysis of an appropriate primary sources (end week 8, worth 25%); and by an essay on a topic relevant to the course content and mutually agreed between the module leader and the student (end week 12, worth 50%). The aim is to engage students with both primary and secondary material; and to thereby allow for an in-depth knowledge of the subject area by the end of the course.

Indicative Reading

Anne Hardy, Health and Medicine in Britain since 1860, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2001 Rudolf Klein, The New Politics of the NHS, Harlow, Longman, 4th edn. 2001 Becky Taylor, Martin Powell, and John Stewart, 'Central and Local Government in the Provision of Municipal Medicine, 1919-39', English Historical Review, cxxii, 496, 2007 John Stewart, 'The National Health Service in Scotland, 1947-1974: Scottish or British?', Historical Research, 76, 193, 2003 John Stewart, '"Scottish Solutions to Scottish Problems"?: Social Welfare in Scotland since Devolution', in (ed) Nick Ellison, Linda Bauld, and Martin Powell, Social Policy Review 16, Bristol, The Policy Press, 2004 Charles Webster, The Health Services since the War, I: Problems of Health Care: The National Health Service before 1957, London, HMSO, 1988 Charles Webster, The Health Services since the War, II: Government and Health Care: The British National Health Service, 1958-1979, London, HMSO, 1996 Charles Webster, The National Health Service: A Political History, Oxford, Oxford University Press, rev.edn. 2002 - useful essays and references

Transferrable Skills

Students will further develop skills in: 1. the analysis of historical and contemporary documents 2. essay and report writing 3. oral presentation and debating

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (PT) 5.00
Seminars (PT) 30.00
Seminars (FT) 30.00
Tutorials (FT) 5.00
Independent Learning (FT) 147.00
Assessment (PT) 18.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Independent Learning (PT) 147.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 25.00 45% Review of secondary text mutually agreed between student and course leader (500 words)
Coursework 0.00 50.00 45% Essay on topic relevant to course and mutually agreed between student and course leader (2000 words)
Coursework 0.00 25.00 45% Analysis of primary source relevant to course and mutually agreed between student and course leader (500 words)