On 26th September 1953, the BMJ published an article by Stephen Hadfield titled “A field study of general practice, 1951-52”. 

It was a measured attempt inspired by the BMA to stem rising criticism of British general practice, which had emerged tired from the years of war, was demoralised and massively underpaid by the new NHS. 

The Collings Report published in the Lancet (1950) [1] had been a hatchet job and a cause célebre, describing appalling care and ghastly facilities, leaving the impression that all general practice was the dregs.

The report led some to feel general practice was past saving and not worth the effort.  It was the nadir for the GPs, but they also had their supporters.

The BMA turned to Hadfield and the Nuffield Trust published Stephen Taylor’s Good General Practice (1954). 

Over the next few years the College of General Practitioners was formed (1952); the Danckwerts settlement provided a first stimulus to practice expansion (1952) and group practice began to emerge.  In 1965 the Doctors Charter was published, and James Cameron (BMA), Kenneth Robinson and George Godber (Ministry of Health) negotiated a contract that provided incentives and rewards for better practice. 

[1]Collings  JS  General Practice in England Today – a reconnaissance. Lancet 1950 Vol 1, 555-79