NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Was National Health Their Finest Hour?

February 10, 2000

What was the most important contribution of any British government in the 20th century? According to a poll by the Times of London:

  • 46 percent of 1,007 British citizens surveyed regarded the National Health Service as the greatest achievement of British politics in the 20th century.
  • 18 percent rated the creation of the social welfare state as the single greatest political achievement.
  • And another 15 percent rated winning the Second World War as the greatest accomplishment.

The NHS has 1.1 million patients on its hospital waiting lists, and half as many doctors per capita as the U.S., but the British think it is "the crowning achievement," say observers.

Source: Paul R. McGinn, "Brits Rate NHS as Top Achievement," American Medical News, January 31, 2000.


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