Obligation and the changing nature of publicly funded healthcare

Veitch, Kenneth (2019) Obligation and the changing nature of publicly funded healthcare. Medical Law Review, 27 (2). pp. 267-294. ISSN 0967-0742

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Abstract

This article explores the relationship between obligation and publicly funded healthcare. Taking the National Health Service (NHS) as the focal point of discussion, the article presents a historical analysis of the shifting nature and function of obligation as it relates to this institution. Specifically, and drawing inspiration from recent literature that takes seriously the notion of the tie or bond at the core of obligation, the article explores how the forms of social relation and bonds underpinning a system like the NHS have shifted across time. This is undertaken via an analysis of Aneurin Bevan’s vision of the NHS at its foundation, the importance today of the patient (and the individual generally) within publicly funded healthcare, and the role of contract as a contemporary governance mechanism within the NHS. A core feature of the article is its emphasis on the impact that a variety of economic factors—including privatisation, marketisation, and the role of debt and finance capital—are having on previously settled understandings of obligation and the forms of social relation underpinning them associated with the NHS. It is therefore argued that an adequate analysis of obligation in healthcare law and related fields must extend beyond the doctor–patient relationship and that of state–citizen of the classical welfare state in order to incorporate new forms of relation, such as that between creditor and debtor, and new actors, including private healthcare providers and financial institutions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Kenneth Veitch
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 11:01
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79153

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