For as long as I can recall, watchers of the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) have talked about the imminence of crisis. In 1948, the year of its formation, it was doubtful up to the last few weeks whether general practitioners as a body would agree to join the scheme proposed by the newly elected Labour government. If they had not, its basis, the free provision for all of the services of a primary medical care generalist, would not have been secured, and all else would have foundered. In the event, it was only a tiny minority of general practitioners (GPs) that refused to join. In the 1950s, increasing demands for health care, contrary to the predictions of the socialist founders of the NHS who thought of such demands as finite and capable of being met equitably from public expenditure, were thought to be crippling the National Exchequer. Token charges for some drugs and appliances, such as spectacles and dentures, and the realization that the costs were not exceeding the growth in national income stilled the disquiet.