The papers in this volume represent a wide range of perspectives and encompass diverse points of view. They are however united in the core problem which they address. They were originally conceived as contributions to a conference in Glasgow Caledonian University organized by the Centre for Contemporary History on the first 50 years of the NHS in Scotland. The discussion in the text identifies three main themes. The first is a sense of impatience at the fact that many of the reflections which the 50th anniversary of the service has inspired are so uncritically celebratory. The second theme is that of public health. All discussions of the NHS lead at some point to the consideration of how far, given its emphasis on cure, the service has tended to neglect the work of prevention. Throughout its 50-year history, the NHS has been continually undergoing change. Therefore, the third theme of this book is the transfer of democratic responsibility for the service from Westminster to a devolved parliament in Edinburgh, and the changes this may bring.