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1. When did the NHS begin?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about where the National Health Service came from, focusing in particular on: (i) the foundation of the NHS on 5th July 1948; (ii) Labour’s unexpected victory in the 1945 General Election, and the appointment of Aneurin Bevan as Health Minister; (iii) the extent to which a national health service had been debated prior to 1945, including the establishment of the Emergency Medical Service in 1939, the publication of the Beveridge Report in 1942, and the white paper of Henry Willink, Health Minister 1943-54; (iv) the debate over who would run a national health service, and the extent to which Bevan envisioned a larger role for central government that had been proposed by either the Conservatives or (in the past) by Labour; and (v) Bevan’s role in persuading some of the more intransigent elements within the healthcare ecosystem to sign up to his vision.
In this course, Dr George Gosling (University of Wolverhampton) explores healthcare in Britain prior to the establishment of the NHS in 1948. In the first module, we think about when the NHS began, looking at the importance of the Second World War and Labour’s 1945 election victory. After that, we consider whether there was public healthcare in Britain before the NHS, before turning in the third module to think about what private healthcare looked like prior to 1948 – a mix of businesses operating for profit but also community and charitable initiatives. In the fourth module, we think about whether people had to pay for healthcare prior to the NHS, before turning in the fifth and final module to think about why the NHS was ‘only’ set up in 1948.
Dr George Gosling is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Wolverhampton. He specialises in modern British history, focusing in particular on the themes of medicine, charity and welfare to explore wider questions of gender, citizenship and consumerism. His most recent book, Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 (2017), explored the complex meanings of payment in the pre-NHS hospital. It argues that, when patient payments became commonplace after the First World War, they neither empowered consumers as hoped nor crowded out the sick poor as feared, instead they found a surprisingly traditional accommodation with the long-established class-bound principles of philanthropy.
Cite this Lecture
Gosling, G. (2021, February 02). Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48 - When did the NHS begin? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-healthcare-c-1900-48/when-did-the-nhs-begin
Gosling, G. "Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48 – When did the NHS begin?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 02 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/britain-healthcare-c-1900-48/when-did-the-nhs-begin