Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Physician Resistance and the Forging of Public Healthcare

A Comparative Analysis of the Doctors’ Strikes in Canada and Belgium in the 1960s


Organised medicine in a number of advanced industrial countries resisted the post-war trend toward more state involvement in the funding and organisation of medical care. While there were eight doctors’ strikes during the peak of reform efforts in the 1960s, two of the most prolonged and bitter struggles took place in Canada and Belgium.

This comparative analysis of the two strikes highlights the philosophy, motives, and strategies of organised medicine in resisting state-led reform efforts. Although historical and institutional contexts in the two countries differed, organised medicine in Canada and Belgium thought and responded in very similar ways to the perceived threat of medical insurance reform.

While the perception of who won and who lost the respective doctors’ strikes differed, the ultimate impact on the trajectory of public healthcare on the medical profession was remarkably similar. In both countries, the strike would have a long-standing impact on future reform efforts, particularly efforts to reform physician remuneration in order to facilitate more effective primary healthcare.

Read this article HERE.

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