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The 50th birthday of the nhs leads to reflections on the different fate of its contemporary sibling, the duty of the state to provide decent housing for all. There have been two apparently contradictory reactions to the Health Service anniversary. First, an awesome sense of how far life expectancy has improved and how the quality of our lives has changed beyond our imagination, and second, a profound disquiet at doctors playing God, at waiting lists, and at the disparity in treatment ...

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