Accounting and the ‘Insoluble’ Problem of Health-Care Costs


Health service accounting reforms are frequently promoted, explained or justified with reference to ageing populations, expensive medical technologies and their purported implications for the cost of health care. Drawing on Foucault’s genealogical method, we examine the emergence of concerns regarding health expenditure in the wake of the creation of the British National Health Service in 1948, and their relationship with health service accounting practices. We argue that concerns regarding the cost of health care are historically contingent rather than inescapable consequences of demographic and technological change, and that health service accounting practices are both constitutive and reflective of such concerns. We conclude by relating our analysis to current attempts to control costs and increase efficiency in the health services.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Accounting
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialNoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accounting
Publication ISSN: 1468-4497
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://www.tand ... 80.2016.1187073 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-06-21
Published Online Date: 2016-06-21
Accepted Date: 2016-04-01
Submitted Date: 2014-07-01
Authors: Gebreiter, Florian (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5981-0476)
Ferry, Laurence

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