Hospital accounting and the history of health-care rationing

Florian Gebreiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Focussing on the period from 1948 to 1997, this paper examines the history of rationing in the British National Health Service (NHS), with special reference to the role of hospital accounting in this context. The paper suggests that concerns regarding rationing first emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in response to the application of economic theories to the health services, and that rationing only became an issue of wider concern when the NHS increasingly came to resemble economic models of health services in the early 1990s. The paper moreover argues that, unlike in the USA, hospital accounting did not play a significant role in allocating or withholding health resources in Britain. Rudimentary information systems as well as resistance from medical professionals are identified as significant factors in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-199
Number of pages17
JournalAccounting History Review
Issue number3
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Accounting History Review on 27/10/15, available online:


  • accounting history
  • hospital accounting
  • health-care
  • rationing
  • NHS
  • new public management


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