For 20 years, British governments of both the left and right have tried to improve the management of the NHS. But the distinctive contribution of the Thatcher governments of the 1980s has defined this very much in terms of controlling health professionals: doctors, nurses and others. This volume offers an explanation of why this approach was adopted. It examines in detail the various methods of control employed and assesses the consequences for the future of professional work and organization in the NHS. The book should be interest to a wide range of health professionals including doctors, nurses, health authority members and managers and should also be useful for students of social policy and health studies.