New staff member: Hayley Brown: ‘‘Progressives to laggards’? Health system reform in Britain and New Zealand, 1948-1993’

Dr Hayley Brown, Research Fellow, joins the History Centre working on the project ‘‘Progressives to laggards’? Health system reform in Britain and New Zealand, 1948-1993’ as part of Martin Gorsky’s Wellcome funded project, ‘Health Systems in History: Ideas, Comparisons, Policies c.1890-2000’.

At the beginning of June I joined the Centre for History in Public Health as a Research Fellow working on Martin Gorsky’s Wellcome funded project, ‘Health Systems in History: Ideas, Comparisons, Policies c.1890-2000’. I will be working on a history of health system reform in Britain and New Zealand from 1948 until 1993 which explores the development and changes to the healthcare systems in the two countries using the ‘family of nations’ approach developed by Francis Castles. In 1938 New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce universal healthcare under its first Labour government which had been elected in 1935. Britain followed 10 years later with the introduction of the NHS in July 1948, also under a Labour government. During the second half of the twentieth century both countries, like other advanced economies, faced the challenges of providing healthcare to an aging population, escalating costs of medical technologies and heightened public expectations of care. In both countries similar solutions were considered to these problems, although the implementation and success of these solutions varied between the two nations. A more detailed outline of the project can be found here: http://systemshistory.lshtm.ac.uk/progressives-to-laggards/ We plan to hold a day symposium in London in October 2017 to formally launch this project.

I will be working on this project until November 2020, in collaboration with Martin Gorsky and Linda Bryder (University of Auckland), and will be travelling to New Zealand for two extended research trips, the first in 2018, and the second in late 2019 which will coincide with the University of Auckland hosting the Australia and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine Conference. As well as conducting archival research and oral history interviews, during my first trip I will be organising a Witness Seminar on an aspect of reform to New Zealand’s healthcare system in the 1980s and 1990s. When I’m not in New Zealand, I’ll be based at the LSHTM in London and will be conducting research here as well as contributing to the teaching programme. I’m interested in speaking to those involved in healthcare reform in NZ or the UK or those who have experience of working within both the NZ and British public health systems. If you would be willing to contribute to our research please contact me on hayley.brown@lshtm.ac.uk

I completed my PhD at Victoria University of Wellington (NZ) on the history of divorce in New Zealand c.1890s – c.1950s and hold a BA(Hons) and MA from the University of Canterbury (NZ) in history. My MA thesis explored the history of abortion law reform in New Zealand and New South Wales in the 1970s. I was previously an Honorary Research Fellow in History at Birkbeck, University of London from 2012 until 2014. My research interests cover the fields of the histories of New Zealand, Britain and Australia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As well as my interest in trans-national history, health systems and welfare, I am interested in the history of sexuality and reproduction, the history of gender, the social history of families, legal history and the history of the British Empire.


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