This six-part series explores the immense significance of the NHS to the British people. From its founding in July 1948, to the unprecedented pressures it faces today, Cal Flyn documents critical moments in the organisation’s history.
The History of the NHS
Starkly unequal access to healthcare gave rise to Nye Bevan’s creation of a truly national health service.
In the 1950s, dramatic political battles over NHS charges brought down a government. But public confidence in the service still grew.
In the 1960s the NHS became Britain’s biggest employer. So to help fill all those jobs, the government brought in thousands of workers from abroad.
When the social unrest of the 1970s spread to the NHS, dissatisfied staff challenged the status quo for the first time in quarter of a century.
The 1980s and 1990s saw ideas from the world of business infiltrating the NHS, including the introduction of an internal market, followed by a corporate branding exercise.