This is a passionate analysis of the historical development, current state and potential future shape of the National Health Service by distinguished doctor and author, Julian Tudor Hart. Drawing on many years of clinical experience, Tudor Hart sets out to explore how the NHS might be reconstituted as a humane service for all (rather than a profitable one for the few), and a civilising influence on society as a whole. His starting point is an attack on the creeping commercialisation of the health service - the privatisation of a growing number of spheres, and the application of market economics to procurement, delivery and management. Combining clinical, political and economic arguments, he then proposes his own economic analysis of the NHS, 'derived not from classical theory but from experience of the real health care economy'. The author's aim is to provide 'a big picture' for students, academics, health professionals and NHS users that will inspire them to challenge received wisdoms about how the NHS should develop in the twenty-first century.