BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The shadows of waiting and care: on discourses of waiting in the history of the British National Health Service

    Bar-Haim, S. and Baraitser, Lisa and Moore, M.D. (2023) The shadows of waiting and care: on discourses of waiting in the history of the British National Health Service. Wellcome Open Research 8 , p. 73. ISSN 2398-502X.

    50644.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (25MB) | Preview


    Waiting is at the centre of experiences and practices of healthcare. However, we know very little about the relationship between the subjective experiences of patients who wait in and for care, health practitioners who ‘prescribe’ and manage waiting, and how this relates to broader cultural meanings of waiting. Waiting features heavily in the sociological, managerial, historical and health economics literatures that investigate UK healthcare, but the focus has been on service provision and quality, with waiting (including waiting lists and waiting times) drawn on as a key marker to test the efficiency and affordability of the NHS. In this article, we consider the historical contours of this framing of waiting, and ask what has been lost or occluded through its development. To do so, we review the available discourses in the existing literature on the NHS through a series of ‘snapshots’ or key moments in its history. Through its negative imprint, we argue that what shadows these discourses is the idea of waiting and care as phenomenological temporal experiences, and time as a practice of care. In response, we begin to trace the intellectual and historical resources available for alternative histories of waiting – materials that might enable scholars to reconstruct some of the complex temporalities of care marginalized in existing accounts of waiting, and which could help reframe both future historical accounts and contemporary debates about waiting in the NHS.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2023 06:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:20


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item