Hospital Sunday and the new National Health Service: An End to 'The Voluntary Spirit' in England?

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Abstract

The advent of the welfare state has been seen by some historians as a decisive blow for British traditions of voluntarism, echoing some of the concerns raised in the lead up to the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS). This article examines the practice of Hospital Sunday in England in the post-war period. In doing so it evidences the effect of the nationalization of the voluntary hospitals in 1948 on the relationships between clergy, their congregations and health care. It argues that much greater attention needs to be paid to the continuities evident in Christian-inspired social action in the NHS in the long 1950s and after. Attending to the role of such Christian social action allows historians both to extend our knowledge of the importance of Christianity to social life in the period and to deepen our understanding of the operation of the welfare state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-393
Number of pages22
JournalStudies in Church History
Volume58
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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