Abstract

Despite a sizeable literature on the evolution of health insurance in Britain and Canada, there is virtually no research on the transnational migration of physicians between these countries in the immediate postwar period. This article hopes to address this neglected subject. Three interrelated topics will be examined. First, the paper will summarize the debate over physician emigration from the National Health Service (NHS) in postwar Britain. It will demonstrate how British social scientists and politicians began to come to grips with a major demographic exodus of British-trained doctors in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Second, it will analyze the changing health human resource situation in 1960s Canada, which focused, for practical and cultural reasons, on General Medical Council of Britain licensed practitioners. Third, through oral interviews of British-trained physicians who settled in Canada during the 1960s, it will examine the professional and personal reasons why physicians left Britain for Canada. It reveals that, among a myriad of personal issues that motivated a physician to leave the NHS, the inflexibility and hierarchical nature of British medicine loomed very large. The paper will conclude by reflecting on the contemporary significance of this fascinating historical phenomenon.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-4373
Print ISSN
0022-5045
Pages
pp. 546-575
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-23
Open Access
No
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