National Medical Union Archive
Date range: 1911–1924
The National Medical Union was established in Manchester to co-ordinate the opposition of doctors to the National Insurance Act 1911. The Act introduced social insurance for selected groups of workers, who contributed to an insurance pool, along with their employers and the government, and received benefits in the event of sickness or unemployment. Doctors opposed the medical insurance part of this scheme, arguing it was unduly restrictive and did not adequately remunerate them.
The NMU represented the militant wing of this opposition, and Manchester was the focus for its activities. The campaign gradually faltered, particularly after the outbreak of war in 1914, and the Union disbanded in the early 1920s.
The majority of the archive comprises minutes of the executive committee and other committees of the NMU. Some administrative papers also survive, including interesting documents on the Union’s alternative insurance proposals and its political activities.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
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