Chris Bowlby explores how the struggle for control between doctors - the key figures in health care - and politicians and patients has shaped 60 years of NHS history.
Chris Bowlby explores who actually runs the service.
That question was hugely important in the 1970s and 80s, with huge rows over private beds in hospitals, prescriptions and changes to the way GPs worked, and remains highly relevant today with the debate over Lord Darzi's health care proposals.
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Since the 1980s, governments have wanted doctors to become much more managerial, running their practices as efficient businesses and buying health care from hospitals on behalf of patients.
This has given GPs renewed power but led to public concern as their pay and status has risen rapidly.
The approach of younger doctors, contracting out evening and weekend care, seems a departure from older ideas of a medical vocation, a permanent presence in the local community and a resolutely non-commercial approach to delivering equal care to all.
There's much debate, too, about how far doctor are now obliged to respond to patients as consumers, and how far doctors should become evangelists for government ideas of a healthy lifestyle.