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Julian M. Simpson

60 2 Empire, migration and the NHS The establishment and development of the NHS in the post-​war period coincided with the dismantling of the British Empire. Colonial-​era language or parallels have been used at times to describe the relationship between the NHS and the migrant labour it has relied on.1 However, the development of the British healthcare system and the impact and legacy of the Empire are two closely linked phenomena that historians have rarely considered together.2 The same can be said of the history of post-​war migration to the UK and the

in Migrant architects of the NHS
South Asian doctors and the reinvention of British general practice (1940s– 1980s)

The NHS is traditionally viewed as a typically British institution; a symbol of national identity. It has however always been dependent on a migrant workforce whose role has until recently received little attention from historians. Migrant Architects draws on 45 oral history interviews (40 with South Asian GPs who worked through this period) and extensive archival research to offer a radical reappraisal of how the National Health Service was made.

This book is the first history of the first generation of South Asian doctors who became GPs in the National Health Service. Their story is key to understanding the post-war history of British general practice and therefore the development of a British healthcare system where GPs play essential roles in controlling access to hospitals and providing care in community settings.

Imperial legacies, professional discrimination and an exodus of British-trained doctors combined to direct a large proportion of migrant doctors towards work as GPs in industrial areas. In some parts of Britain they made up more than half of the GP workforce. This book documents the structural dependency of British general practice on South Asian doctors. It also focuses on the agency of migrant practitioners and their transformative roles in British society and medicine.

Abstract only
Writing the history of the ‘International’ Health Service
Julian M. Simpson

be argued that there was an even greater need for their medical expertise in 3 The ‘International’ Health Service3 their countries of origin. The point is that we should recognise that the transnational movement of doctors fundamentally shaped an important dimension of life and death in post-​war Britain. In the following sections of this Introduction, I begin with an outline of how this study builds on current understandings of the histories of the NHS, empire, migration and more specifically medical migration. I then explain the rationale behind my focus on

in Migrant architects of the NHS