History of the NHS

History of the National Health Service


Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health launched the National Health Service on 5 July 1948 at Park Hospital, Davyhulme, near Manchester. The NHS was one of the first universal health care systems established anywhere in the world. A leaflet was sent to every household in June 1948 which explained that it will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone — rich or poor, man, woman or child — can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a “charity”. The leaflet explained that all are paying for it, mainly as tax payers, and it was intended to remove financial worries in times of illness.


The NHS in Scotland was established as a separate entity with its own legislation, the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947, from the foundation of the NHS in 1948. Northern Ireland likewise had its own legislation in 1948. Wales, however, was managed from England and treated much like an English region for the first 20 years of the NHS. In 1969, responsibility for the NHS in Wales was passed to the Secretary of State for Wales from the Secretary of State for Health, who was thereafter just responsible for the NHS in England. (Wikepedia)