One major reason for establishing a national health service was to increase the availability of medical services to the whole population. This meant not only the removal of cost barriers that might prevent the individual from seeking or accepting medical treatment but also the careful deployment of medical staff and facilities to provide readily accessible services of reasonable quality. Once the principle of free medical care to patients was accepted and a new system of financing and administration evolved, socioeconomic ques­ tions were replaced by straightforward business issues-primarily, the amount of money made available for the health service by the government and the efficiency with which this money was used. Geographical redistribu­ tion of services was more complex and more sensitive. It inevitably included some form of assignment (or at least persuasion) of health service personnel to understaffed areas. Machinery for redistributing the supply of doctors could mean increased controls over the individual's choice of practice area. It thus played an essential part in professional acceptance of public employment.