`This excellent, concise and even-handed book confronts the contradictions and dilemmas at the heart of today's NHS. The book is aimed at healthcare professionals and students of health policy, and covers its major themes over the past 60 years, with particular attention to Labour's policy agenda since 1997' - H ealthmatters. Health Policy for Health Care Professionals is a contemporary guide to the health service, its origins and current agenda, which focuses on the challenges faced by health service workers in implementing government policy at local level. The book's aim is to help health care professionals make assessments of health policy by giving them an understanding of the ideological basis of the British health care system and the challenges facing the modern National Health Service. Beginning with the development of the NHS and its place within the broader context of state welfare provision, the book looks at the options available to governments in formulating policy which responds to health needs. It examines the policies set by recent governments and the feasibility of achieving objectives set by the current NHS Plan. Looking to the future, the book also identifies key issues for health policy in the next decade. Recognizing the reality of working in today's NHS, the authors highlight the tension which often exists between the formation and implementation of health policy. The central concern of policy makers to act for the collective good frequently creates problems for practitioners trying to align services with individual patient need and choice. Health Policy for Health Care Professionals is an ideal text for anyone training for a career in the NHS and an excellent resource for qualified practitioners assessing and implementing policy.