The National Health Service is a system designed to bring about a rational use and distribution of resources yet which largely ignores the contribution of the research community. With a relatively closed health policy arena, there are few customers for policy-oriented research. With responsibility for funding research concentrated at the center and responsibility for delivering services at the periphery, the research community finds itself in limbo. In comparison to both the U.S. and Canada, Britain therefore offers an example of research both underfinanced and undervalued. However, research has made some significant contributions in areas where there has been a perceived use for its findings to support service developments. And the changes now being introduced in Britain's NHS are likely to create a new market for research as the system adopts some North American ideas and becomes less consensual and more pluralistic.

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