Improving access to hospital services has been a goal of public policy in Britain for over seventy years, but the means by which this goal is to be attained have changed significantly over time. Drawing substantially on original research, lanning, Markets and Hospitals represents a systematic attempt to access the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of planning and coordination of hospital development. The period covered includes: services prior to 1948; wartime hospital policy; the successes and failures of the mixed economy of health care in the inter-war period; the national hospital plan of 1962 and ultimately the market based reforms of 1991 and the changes since. This book makes a fresh contribution to enduring debates about planning and regulation of health care, about the governance of welfare services and about the appropriate role for voluntary, commercial and charitable provision of services. It reinterprets previous histories of hospital policy and questions whether current policies will reconcile competing goals of equity and choice.