Since 1974 the National Health Service (NHS) has been subject to successive reorganisations which have shaped and reshaped patterns of administration, clinical care and services. This paper uses two sources of oral evidence: a Witness Seminar with a group of administrators who attended the NHS National Administrators’ Training Scheme in the late 1950s and a collection of interviews with doctors and managers who have played key roles in the health services of Manchester and Salford between 1974 and 2007. It surveys the day-to-day interactions between doctors and administrators/managers in hospital settings and analyses what these reveal about relationships within the broader context of shifting organisational structures and management styles. It suggests that the evidence challenges the historical stereotyping of the two groups and that strong working relationships have been determined as much by the values of respect and association as by changes to structures or management styles.
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