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Accounting and the 'insoluble' problem of health-care costs

Gebreiter, G.; Ferry, L.

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G. Gebreiter


Health service accounting reforms are frequently promoted, explained or justified with reference to aging 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.


Gebreiter, G., & Ferry, L. (2018). Accounting and the 'insoluble' problem of health-care costs. Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments, 25(4), 719-733.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 22, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 21, 2016
Publication Date Oct 1, 2018
Deposit Date May 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 8, 2016
Journal Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments
Print ISSN 0963-8008
Electronic ISSN 1468-0416
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 4
Pages 719-733
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Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (372 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 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.

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