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The Cave Committee inquiry into voluntary hospital finances

The First World War began to threaten the existence of voluntary hospitals. Despite income rising by 67%, costs since 1913 outstripped this figure at 138%. This caused many hospitals to run deficits.

In 1921, Lord Cave was appointed to lead an inquiry to examine the financial state of voluntary hospitals and to make recommendations on ways to help those in trouble.

The committee found that a high proportion of voluntary hospitals (321 of 565) were running deficits. They recommended that temporary government assistance should be provided to ensure the survival of voluntary hospitals.

The government accepted the recommendation and made grants that eventually improved the state of hospital finances.


Pater JE.
The Making of the National Health Service.
King Edward's Hospital Fund for London; 1981.