The NHS: A Difficult Beginning

The NHS: A Difficult Beginning

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 1388

Number of words: 9313

Number of symbols: 42405

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:00
what would Britain be like today without the National Health Service its existence is beyond political debate Britain's health depends on it but in the six months before it opened its doors 60 years ago it looked as though it might never take its first breath hated and resisted by the very people who would actually make it work its
00:32
gestation was the most fiercely contested in British political history and its many enemies wanted to crush it before it was born this is the remarkable story of the battle for its life in January 1948 an iron Bevin the Labour Minister for health made one of the most audacious political promises in British history in just six months time on July the fifth free health care would be
01:24
available to every British citizen the National Health Service was the country's biggest and most expensive social reform ever conceived creating it from scratch in mere months would be a race against time because from the outset it faced bitter opposition winston churchill's tory party had fought Bevins bill at every stage in the House of Commons Britain was bankrupt after the most expensive war in history how could we possibly afford it the
02:10
British papers were predicting disaster the public would exploit a free-for-all but the angriest and most passionate opponents of the National Health Service were the very people needed to make it work the dentist's the surgeons and most of all the doctors doctors said the NHS would rob them of their independence and their freedom they were all set for a
02:42
fierce battle for their survival it is we who have the whip hand not the Minister of Health he can do nothing without us mr. Bevin cannot run a service with a third or less of the GOP with just six months to go Bevin's time was short his enemies were gathering strength would Britain's health revolution really see the light of day before the NHS the health of the nation
03:25
was in a perilous state 1947 had been one of the coldest winters since records began snow blanketed the nation the Thames froze over and with the cold came the host of illnesses that every bleak winter is prone to those who couldn't afford heating were at serious risk something had to change this is the thing the public was so scared about and worried
03:58
about the question of health falling sick the sort of catastrophes that happened in vans the economic catastrophe you know a man couldn't work or a woman lost her job or the kids were sick how do they how could they face the bills the NHS was screaming to be done for decades millions of British people had suffered illnesses that went untreated because going to the dentist the optician even the ordinary doctor cost money that few could afford
04:35
love is the boy I lived in Kings Cross there was all tenement houses then we lived pretty rough I father had been killed in the First World War and then my mother died so there was a great flu epidemic or something after the First World War and I think my mother dying of that says that on the death certificate anyway and so I had brought up by my grandmother who was a widow and they had
05:07
had 13 children but only seven survived I remember once there was a doctor at the corner of vows Street and I wasn't very well and my grandmother took me to him he put me on a table and examined me and so forth and told her what was wrong and said well I'll give you a prescription my grandmother is it all thank you doctor how much is that he said six pence so she opened a person gave him six months he gave it to me that's what made Sam was in those days I
05:40
mean you were dependent upon the good will of the doctors and I remember so well how my father in the 1930s had to suffer when there was no such thing as a health service if you came from the working class and my father did the problems then of falling ill were a nightmare frankly for most families not motions are the all working class families between the wars working-class children
06:13
entered the world in a tenement or a back-to-back freezing in winter stifling in summer conditions that bred diphtheria measles scarlet fever thousands died from tuberculosis every year a child who survived until 12 was likely to have rotten teeth poor bones and a weak heart if they survived at all
06:43
we had such seriously ill children and even worse were the babies who came in with diarrhea and vomiting due to her lack of Hygiene Oh or artificial feeding and they would come in in extremis grossly dehydrated as the House physician I had to immediately set up drips but was a very very high mortality
07:13
rate every morning we spent some time writing death certificates doctors did work in the slums but very few London's East End had just one GP for every 18,000 people in the leafy suburbs it was one for every 250 it is not to every doctor's taste said one GP to work 20 hours a day in the slums to earn as much
07:46
as he could earn in three hours in a more congenial locale essentially British doctors in the 30s and 40s followed the money more than the medical need I never remember going to the doctor the doctor always came to us I'm afraid we were rather lucky in that way we lived in Golders Green at that time that was just before the war and I choked on a chicken bone or a rabbit bone or something I got it stuck in my throat
08:20
and there was a doctor who lived just over the road he looks and he couldn't get it out and he said oh well I'll give you this address in Harley Street and we went off to some great man in Harley Street and he looked at me for about one minute and got it out I don't really know how it worked because I never know how much my parents had to pay or didn't think because you didn't sort of talk about it in those circles for the majority of the population
09:00
healthcare was a matter of charity fundraising parades were a regular sight on Britain streets drumming up cash for the great voluntary hospitals that provided desperately needed care for the poor who had bad days they had nurses in the street instant george's hospital the matron chose the most alluring young innocent looking girl to stand in the front hall shaking a box which was the shape of a
09:30
hospital bed at the end of visiting time the hospital survived primarily on handouts from rich benefactors but philanthropy alone could never provide all that was needed without a radical change good healthcare would only ever be for the privileged few there must be another way of organizing things nie
10:01
Bevin wrote as a young MP in the 1930s born in the South Welsh mining town of Tredegar he left school aged 13 to work underground in the pits he saw at firsthand what illness amongst the poor looked like and what it felt like my heart is full of bitterness he once said for when I see the well-nourished bodies of the wealthy I also see the ill and Haggard faces of my
10:36
own people he lived in an a house like this early in Charles treaters his father was a miner and he died he died from dust you know and I think that that got him going to bit as a rebel but they called him at the time I was a member of a large family and you didn't want to know the days of the week but it can endure you could be here with you tell it by what appeared on the table towards the end of the week the fair was always
11:10
much more meager at the beginning Bevin's political ideals were carved out at the coalface he had seen friends lose limbs and accidents below ground and his own father had died from pneumoconiosis a lung disease that killed thousands every year nine Bevan knowing all the problems of the miners head may have led to the National Health Service by his knowledge of their sufferings and their
11:47
sufferings were great I remember taking a history from one miner who said that he was working in a seam at the coalface and it seemed a temple 18 inches high along which he lay on his side all day chipping away at the coffin and that was hard that was a pouring in the 20th such
12:18
fish to think that this was going on yet it was intraday that the seeds of the NHS was sown Bevin was inspired by a local Association that had transformed the lives of miners and their families the formation of his idea of a national health care it was actually born in Tredici where the local council set up the special feel like a kind of workers
12:49
health service there so the notion of a national health service have been burning in his mind for a long time - suffered regular health problems their solution was to group together the Tredici workman's medical Aid Society was born a pioneering scheme providing local health care for just pennies a week most people in traditional Estonia values were members of the medication safety they picked up a nurse a week on
13:20
their earnings in the Headlee one should anything at all they could get it straight away doesn't matter what it was I mean if you had to go to London come to the office be a certificate in from the Medical Officer pay your fare paid expenses and pay via hospital treatment of wherever you went I mean beginning everything they wanted via two surgeries of dentist visit therapists chiropody shaved off there's a bunch if medical officer instead mini now should
13:54
have service exactly that that's what he based it all as a mini nurse and her service the nation needs a tremendous overhaul the Labour Party wrote in its 1945 manifesto Churchill had led Britain to victory in the war but when the country went to the polls after it ended there was a new hunger for social change I think we were really in a somewhat elevated moral State there was a tidal
14:48
wave of expectation that after the war everything would be different and that was why we were fighting the war was for it to be different the great war leader was deposed because the population wants it's social change and then it's just as part of the social change Clement Atlas government promised to build a newer farah britain and i Bevin above all
15:19
claimed this was the moment to create a new society we have been the dreamers we have been the sufferers he said now we are the builders these sweeping social reforms were attacked by the Tories and Churchill vehemently opposed Bevins revolutionary ideas from the start it was always personal between Bevin and
15:50
Churchill I mean if you go back to Bevins opposition to Churchill during the war when Churchill was the great national hero in a way Churchill resented him because he recognized in Bevin a power of oratory and a commanding figure in the House of Commons challenging to him aged 47 Bevin was the youngest member of atley's cabinet and its most left-wing a
16:22
self-proclaimed projectile from the Welsh valleys and an unashamed socialist it seems to me that if we are to shift god employment in Great Britain we have to be resolute about it and clear about it and say we can only shift God employment for British workers by socialist planning and Great Britain and socialists starting in other parts of the world he was the most novice inflation speaker
16:53
I'd ever heard in my life he was probably the best in Britain he only had to go into a rule money yeah you looking at him and when he spoke he could speak like an angel he enthralled me always Bevin was never intimidated by hostile audiences in a way you'll most relish them he relished heckling and he dealt with heckling in a most extraordinary marvelous way if you if you must click on the job
17:31
where you are on the pressures you're pretty good if people were frightened of being sick Evon thought they could never be free though much had changed in post-war Britain good medical care was still the preserve of the rich he wanted to get money out of the service altogether it was a lump of socialism within a real society that
18:05
still functions as a capitalist society he saw an opportunity to introduce a wedge of socialism into it and that was the basis of his political philosophy argument that you can leave the market to decide our people's ill health will be tackled was a mirror there is a school of thought you know that believes that if a thing is scarce it ought to be
18:35
clear although it doesn't cost any more to produce it than if it were plentiful now that's all right from the point of view of Orthodox economics but this isn't an orthodox government and i'm not an orthodox minister of em On January the 3rd 1948 Bevin made his pledge to the nation free health care would soon be theirs financed by taxes based on the ability to pay yet Bevin
19:18
had no precedent for the enormous task ahead of him six months was no time to setup Britain's biggest ever social reformer how would he equip with the hospital's recruit the nurses and stop the pharmacist most worryingly he had to win over his biggest opponents the medical profession itself horrified by this attack on their privileged world there
19:52
was a very strong reactionary establishment in the profession very elitist we have we hell they may have our boundaries in every cylinder through doctors like lawyers were a class apart independence and hierarchy ran through the professional from the nurses and student doctors right up to the mighty consultants at the top of the tree in the great hospitals they were very
20:22
superior people they were superior so as the students they were superior to GPS then they were superior to their patients they were on a level of their own and they behaved like it the the ward round was the ward round with their will waited at the top of the stairs for the chief and he would arrive and the whole trail would follow him round including the nurses and sisters
20:53
and I've got on copy and all and he would pontificate for decades the doctors and consultants had run British medicine on their terms and done very well out of it why now should they change their ways the rank-and-file of the medical profession amounted to an army of more than 35,000 represented by a hugely influential professional body the British Medical Association the BMA was
21:37
called many years later the shock troops of the middle classes there was a genuine and fierce battle on the first day of January 1948 the BMA declared war on Bevins socialist experiment and set out to persuade every doctor in the land to join them we are fighting against the enslavement of the profession and are engaged in a life-or-death struggle for our freedom and independence how long
22:10
there has all the wisdom on this matter resided with this ridiculous theorist who Swagger's the Ministry of Health he's so full of his own importance that he's prepared to get his wits against the accumulated experience of this council which is to be butchered like a Welshman's holiday leading the vmas opposition was a famously charismatic and outspoken figure to rival Bevin himself aspiring
22:48
conservative politician and Secretary of the BMA dr. Charles Hill he was extraordinarily persuasive in his discussions and afters as an officer of British Medical Students Association I saw him just as I attended meetings at BMA house and at first I swallowed really almost totally the VMA view about the potential iniquities of a whole time salaried service which is the thing that they
23:18
feared most than Charles Hill was particularly outspoken about a control of the profession by government but in organizing him let's make sure that your doctor doesn't become the state's doctor your servant the government servant the fear was that this was state medicine they wouldn't be freed the idea that doctors would be somehow manacled within
23:50
a state system of medicine was completely anathema to them the BMA could not have had a more powerful spokesman for their cause than Charles Hill because he was the most famous doctor in the country dispensing medical wisdom to over 14 million people every week as the BBC's radio doctor what can you do if you get an attack of influenza well there was no pennis here there's no gold and remedy don't believe all the neighbors say about what to such
24:25
and such as toughest unto them bed room extra hot water bottle extra blanket so that you perspire he has a sort of gravelly avuncular tone and talk to people about having their bowels open and sitting on the throne and so on thanks aware of it and people thought arias he's a real family doctor who understands everything that goes on and they did sort of listen to and remember this you're not a hero if you can dodge enough to work with a cold or influenza
24:57
he was very reassuring he was a good father figure and his voice was modulated and it seemed to make sense I went all the way with doctors in the early days until I realized his views of the National Health Service make the doctor not your doctor but the state's doctor no longer your friend your advocate and you'll have done some damage to mention that it will be impossible to repair the doctors believe
25:28
that their freedom as a professional and as individuals that it's your freedom and that's what they are fighting for more than half the BMA's members were GPS who were terrified that the NHS would lower them to the status of medical civil servants the BMA encouraged them to reject Bevins health act as it would rob them not only of their independence but also their livelihood doctors were known as independent contractors you know they
26:02
ran their own lives they ran their own surgeries they ran there practices this was what worried them when we talk of state medicine coming in my husband was his own boss and if he came under state organization he would cease to be his own boss my father was very active in the bridge Medical Association the coming of the Health Service filled him with great
26:33
uncertainty they might be led into a system where the doctors became state employees and they became beholden completely to government direction almost like the military and I think he was very worried that there could be what we'd call now dumbing down the medicine don't forget before the NHS came in GPS purchased their practice
27:04
they had therefore had a capital interest in the practice and hoped that when they retired they would be able to sell the practice of somebody else so there was a financial reason to it's obviously quite a job sending out the BMA prevacid to 56,000 doctors asking them roughly speaking whether they approve of mr. Bevin scheme in the middle of January the BMA launched a counter-attack to Bevin they decided to
27:35
put the views of all 35,000 members to the test in a vote a pleb asset if the doctors voted against the NHS Bevin would have no work force to power his health service simultaneously leading opponents fired off a salvo of furious letters to the National press to whip up a frenzy and persuade every doctor in the land to vote no our independence will have been sacrificed to a soulless machine
28:07
governed by ex miners trade unionists or even Marxists it is essential we fight this proposal with all the resources at our disposal there were some quite vitriolic attacks upon the government as a whole and upon an Oran Bevin personally where they said that the government we're setting out to destroy medical practice in the country forever and from future the state medical
28:37
service is part of a socialist plot to convert Great Britain into a national socialist economy the notion of abductors being dragooned was very much the sort of notion that was being put to the profession by the BMA you know says if you do what you're told you are no longer really in charge of what you do with your patients the government gets between you and your patients the attacks became very personal
29:10
I think they believed that to make a point you had to be forceful to the extent of sometimes being offensive the bill can be written in two lines I hereby take powers to do what I like signed nigh Bevin Shura the BMA's battle over the NHS looked like a class war and Bevin was a lightning conductor for the
29:39
fury of the profession the press and opposing politicians he was a fierce at times and really quite intense Welsh demagogue oh he was hated to the people who proposed the NHS he was seen as the Saints architect who was lobbied along he was utterly reviled by the by some parts of the profession he was a tough negotiator and people
30:10
really felt bruised after they dealt with night my husband was a member of the BMA we used to have an annual conference and I remember being with a group of wives and one of them said told me that she had got a solemn promise from her husband that in the event of an iron Bevin becoming Prime Minister ever
30:39
they would emigrate and this was serious they said they couldn't stand him the BMA had even gone so far as to compare Bevin to Hitler a comparison Bevins arch rival Churchill would have approved of having previously equated socialism with dictatorship could afford to allow free shop or violently worded expressions of
31:11
public discontent they would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo and here was Churchill suggesting that the Labour Party would establish society which would include Gestapo operations etc I think it's inconceivable that the BMA being what they were a very powerful Orthodox established an institution it's inconceivable that they would not have recognized in what Churchill was sane
31:40
ammunition for their campaign on the 9th of February Bevin fought back his stage was Parliament for the first time in its history there was to be a fourth reading of a parliamentary bill Bevin was determined to show that parliamentary sovereignty ruled the country and not the BMA he ought to take pride in the fact that despite their economic concerns we are still able to
32:22
do the most civilized thing in the world put the welfare of the sick in front of every other consideration I will not hesitate to tell the British Medical Association that we look forward to this act starting on the 5th of July Bevin's secured the support of parliament but the BMA's resistance
33:02
intensified local branch boats were organized across the country to stoke up the opposition in Newcastle London and Liverpool the NHS was rejected unanimously in Brighton 350 voted no against a single lone supporter it took courage for any medic to speak out in favor of the health service but a
33:33
minority did brave the opposition among them a young nurse Avis Hutt and her surgeon husband Roscoe there was not much point in anyone arguing with me about not wanting the health service because I was a public river rebel agitator poster carrier tub thumper soapbox orator so I would argue in favor
34:06
my husband was committed to the notion of a unified health service free at the time of use there was a big meeting of the BMA in Birmingham which was chamberland country and my husband attempted to defend the Act he came back absolutely shattered pale
34:36
and shaking they had held him down many supporters of the NHS were young students who had joined a radical group called the Socialist Medical Association in the hostile climate of 1948 they were branded as traitors my impression was that we were a persecuted minority and we were quite marginalised there was a very vocal opposition who were very aggressive and they would single out
35:09
students who they knew supported the NHS and we were pilloried I was you know you'd have 50 or 60 other students ranged behind you in a lecture theatre and the professor pointing his finger at me and saying I remember your parents they were they were Reds and so on we were felt quite singled out as a medical student that scenaries I was
35:40
called commie by everybody I wasn't one that they called big one what the hell do you think you're trying to impose on us they would say you know you'll have a smart yep and down the street as if we were in the army assigning things which were told to sign you know you'll be militarizing mids that's all you want to in mid-february with some four months to go before his NHS was due to open its doors the doctor's verdict was ready to be announced bevor knew the moment of
36:18
truth was imminent the BMA's members votes were counted in a sealed room it wasn't long before Bevin discovered the scale of his defeat rejection followed rejection followed rejection more than 30,000 over 85% of the poll voted against joining the NHS it was a disaster for Bevin the voice of the BMA had become stronger and louder
36:55
than ever let me ask how you propose to work the medical service without doctors you can't bring in the troops nor anything like that let us realise that this temporary Minister of Health is only like a very difficult patient determined to get his own way by whatever means but this totalitarian socialist government will soon be superseded Bevin faced a
37:25
crisis personally and politically no doctors meant no Health Service his critics began clamoring for his resignation now I can sympathize with that fellow Sisyphus with his bloody Boulder two days after the plebiscite result he was scheduled to speak in South Wales to his own people the country would hear him - there would be no backing down no
38:06
matter what harsh words may come from the mouths of the great kind words lie in the mouths of the weak and the sick and the poor who will now have access to what was formerly held from them when I hear the cacophony of harsh voices trying to intimidate me I close my eyes and listen to the silent voices of the
38:40
poor Bevin had this remarkable capacity of being able to persuade people that their dreams were realizable the country was at that time being bombarded with a lot of and not just anti Bevin personally but anti enter the NHS as an idea socialized medicine horrible just imagine it and trying to frighten people what I think they misjudge was that
39:13
there was an enormous support in the country not just a working class often among the middle class - who had remembered how difficult it was before the Second World War the popular support for Bevins plans was crucially underlined at the start of March when Gallup published an opinion poll on the National Health Service in a post-war group of shortages rations and endless queues life in Britain may have looked gray but the mood was optimistic
40:00
excited about the future the poll revealed overwhelming public support for the NHS only 13% were on the side of the doctors strengthened by the enthusiasm of the British public Bevin made the most audacious move of his political life in a bid to undermine the BMA he went over the heads of the ordinary GPS
40:32
who's rejected him and straight to the door of the grandest doctor in Britain Lord Morin the president of the Royal College of Physicians it was the last roll of the dice to see if he could turn defeat into victory Lord Moran was a rather lordly figure he presided over the affairs of the Royal College of Physicians with a very firm hand I think he served for longer as president of
41:03
that London Royal College longer than than any other president in recent memory Lord Morin it was sometimes said was the only doctor in the country with just one patient but what a patient my father was notable for looking after Winston Churchill with no notice I mean Winston a sudden SI unit we're off to and it was Greece or Moscow or somewhere like there
41:33
and off he went to see with his patient yet Churchill and Bevin were still bitter enemies a petrified adolescent Bevin had called Churchill the minister of disease Churchill spat back by going to Morin Bevin was marching into the heart of the enemy camp if he could win him over and the rest of the profession might follow but Morin was as cunning as Bevin Lord
42:07
Loren his nickname was the corkscrew Charlie because he was so devious he was devious but he was a politician a medical politician I can remember neither even coming to 1 to 9 Harley Street and he had several curled and Sarah I fixed him a whiskey toddy he like that and she liked another one so I made it another weapon my father liked him
42:38
perhaps in the beginning he felt that he was a reasonable man and highly intelligent man a man with whom it was possible to do business on on this off question and I don't think it ever crossed his mind you know where he came from or anything it was totally irrelevant as president of the Royal College Lord Morin controlled the most prestigious medical group in the country the consultants they were the least likely conscripts to a nationalized health industry for decades they had
43:11
been in charge of Britain's great charity hospitals such as Bart's st. Thomas's and the London hospital but Bevin knew their Achilles heel they're famous hospitals were broke charity never provided enough if he could find some way to pour the state's cash into the hospitals and let the surgeons keep their freedom maybe maybe Warren would help lord Noren realized that Nyhan was
43:43
giving the consultants control over the means of production of healthcare they couldn't afford to provide hospitals and x-ray plants and laboratories and so on only the government would do that so really it was in their interest to come on board and when they were told and you can still have your pad in Harley Street as well well why not to clinch the deal Bevin made Morin a very enticing offer the consultants could have it both ways
44:14
they could work for the state and if they so chose carry on making lucrative money out of private patients an RN Bevin was able to agree that the consultants could be whole time if they so wished and would be paid a salary in the teaching hospitals for the first time but that they could also be part time and be paired a part-time salary and continue with their private practice on a sessional basis and it was an oral
44:45
Bevin who said I stuffed their mouths with gold basically Bevin had the ability to buy folks off he said to the London consultants yes I accept that you'll get loos private practice yes I accept that's hard getting to the top of the ladder so why don't we have a system in which the really superior doctors paid double the rest and who will decide it you'll decide it not me you are the
45:16
professional people who can judge who is good with time running out all Bevins hopes for launching on July the 5th now rested with Morin but there was a problem Morin was up for re-election his position as head of the Royal College faced an imminent challenge it came from Lord Horder the King's personal physician and one of the most die-hard and outspoken opponents of Bevins National Health Service Lord Horder came
45:46
out with a declaration that the idea of a National Health Service that proposing was as he put it the mad march to totalitarianism and this was the attitude a hoarder was an extremist of course but he also represented a very large slice of the medical elite came to a head in the annual election for the presidency which took place once a year with probably about 300 fellows
46:24
attending and he regularly stood against my father and for about nine times running I think Morin routinely defeated order by a majority of ten to one but in 1948 with Horder campaigning on an anti NHS ticket this vote who determined not just the presidency but the very survival of the NHS to elect the president you had to go to their college
46:56
building in London the place was packed every possible person came and there was a very very tense and traumatic election you then cast a piece of silver for the candidate you wished for the Registrar read them all out one by one Maura for Lauren hoarding it was very tense everybody was on the edge of their tents watching what
47:36
was going to happen and there was a moment when there were five Horovitz in order order order really looked us there that were that was it an order was came to make it order it was absolutely touch-and-go the final vote was a hundred and sixty five to hoarder and a
48:06
hundred and seventy two more on the future of the NHS had turned on five consultants votes Morin would now lead them into the health service the amazing thing was that Bevin turned out to be somebody with whom you could do business he actually listened people went into the room with Bevin not thinking that he was going to be a rough tough street fighter and below the salt they found this Pleasant charming man who could whistle the birds down from the trees
48:37
who listened who would in fact accommodate you whenever possible but what about the GPS Morin now rode to Bevin with an audacious suggestion of his own My dear nie the irrational fears of the GPS that they will become slaves is based on their fear that one day you will turn them into full-time salaried servants of the state you could to get
49:07
the GPS on Bevin should amend the NHS Act to guarantee he would never reduce them to civil servants or wage slaves without launching an entirely new Act of Parliament two days later on the 7th of April Bevin made this amendment in the Commons Morin applauded him in the Lord's their deal was finally sealed Bevin's sudden political compromise should have been welcome news to the
49:46
doctors and the BMA but far from caving in they simply dug their heels in further with a fighting fund in place now they were threatening to strike rather than sign up to the NHS facing continued resistance Bevin kept his cool he ignored their threats and announced louder than ever that his health service would start as promised in three months
50:19
time even though not one doctor was on board a massive public information campaign was launched to educate the public about the glories of the NHS the new National Health Service starts providing hospital and specialist services medicines drugs and appliances Bevin believed the doctors resistance would crack if they faced a groundswell of public demand his trump card was the unique selling point of the NHS
50:50
everything would cost nothing nothing you and your family having put yourselves on my list get all of the general practitioner services free you got your doctor's you got your optician you got your dentists it just wasn't sort of just the doctors you've got the whole lot thrown in following the first wave of publicity over 20 million people signed up for the new service Bevins target was higher
51:26
stilled to get 90% of the public registered by July the fifth when you're ill you won't have to pay for treatment I don't have to pay the doctor now I'm on the panel yes that's true but your wife and children aren't the panel system the advance publicity hit home most strongly with one crucial section of the audience women suppose your wife controls it on Saturday for generations they had been lost in line when
51:59
working-class families spent precious cash on health care Bevin spoke particularly about what he called the silent majority that is the woman's health was very much impaired by a constant child rearing because there was no access to free contraception and were warned out within their gynecological problems and the anemia and there was no health care available to them Bevan also knew the strongest argument of the Health Service was that it would
52:32
dramatically improve the lives of Britain's children with child mortality still a grave concern up to ten thousand a year dying from diphtheria alone this was a compelling reason for signing up this boy is not expected to live he was not immunized I remember as a child going to a children's movie morning Saturday morning and there was an advert which said every 40 minutes a child dies of diphtheria this child need not have
53:08
died just the sort of thing to cheer up a child on a Saturday morning but the object of that was not to teach you about diphtheria but to get you down to the clinic for diphtheria immunization he could have been immunized and so protected against diphtheria you can get all of your people immunized free and you can wipe diphtheria measles from the streets stop this needless death the campaign was a masterstroke within five weeks
53:38
seventy-five percent of the British public had filled in NHS registration forms it was an unpleasant dose of reality for the BMA their resistance was totally out of step with millions of British people in desperation and unwisely they arranged a second pleb asset the majority of doctors were still against signing up but almost 40% had changed
54:20
their minds and now voted for the NHS the tide was turning my attitude was totally transformed because at a time when people were paying their doctors the GPS I saw one or two children who'd suffered appendicitis and in whom the appendix had perforated because they had abdominal pain and their parents had given them castor oil because to penneth of castor oil was cheaper than the doctor and it was that kind of
54:54
experience which persuaded me to change my view they were persuaded in the end and I think they began to see that there were limits to the amount of resistance they could put up the number of Britain's doctors bowing to the inevitable was rising daily it wasn't long before those who held out began to fear that they might be losing out now
55:25
don't forget choose your doctor now the doctors were scared once they found that the dam was being breached you had hungry doctors who needed a living and if in a small town three out of the 10 doctors decided to sign up with the National Health Service their practice will immediately swell and they will have a guaranteed income the other seven doctors will see all of their
55:56
patients trooping off so is it rather like a domino effect forced into a corner with just five weeks left before July the fifth the BMA finally advised all remaining doctors to join the NHS it was a retreat but not a surrender they now switched tactics hoping still to stop her Bevins plans knowing how much political capital Bevan had staked on July the fifth they called
56:31
on him to delay the start date was unrealistic and impractical nothing would be ready Bevan should push it back or face chaos Bevan had a task and reputation because if he didn't get the health services in he was doomed as a politician a lot of people felt that he might say okay let's delay it for six months he was absolutely insistent that do it
57:02
now a delay he would regard as a sign of weakness a sign of doubt and that would strengthen the forces the strong forces that were opposed to any form of national health service so a delay would in fact be a serious retreat some of the doctors have been suggesting that the introduction of the National Health Service should be postponed because there is a shortage of nurses
57:43
doctors dentists hospital equipment and things of that sort that is a lot of stupid nonsense for we shall never have all we need indeed if we are short it is all the more reason why we should use intelligently what we have got Bevin was too proud a politician to back down now but privately he knew there were serious hurdles to overcome his six-month
58:17
timetable was far too short to deal with the practicalities of launching the NHS in just two years the estimated startup costs had almost doubled to 180 million pounds the second biggest charge to the Treasury after the military Britain's existing medical services were desperately ill equipped to meet the impending demands of the new service most of our 3,000 hospitals were crumbling either from aged or from the
58:50
Blitz there was not a single hospital in London that escaped bomb damage I during the war was living in Manchester Salford and the Bombers came over for the Salford docks and one night they took out an entire wing of her Hospital Salford leaving bare ends of a corridor and a fair number of dead nurses and dead patients where a three-story wing just disappeared no amount of improvisation or riah quipping can
59:22
expand these Victorian walls this corrugated iron shed was built in 1918 for war casualties I worked as a theatre or they under serve or totally in an old workhouse Hospital and three years after the war there was corrugated iron covering the passageway where the block had previously stood so it was in fact possible to push a patient on a stretcher underneath the corrugated iron
59:55
across the area of bomb damage down to the operating theaters with just five weeks to go to the NHS opened its doors Bevin's problems continued to get worse it wasn't just the buildings and equipment falling short he still had only a small proportion of the staff the NHS would need Naz Edwards can you go to her and nurses are busy and never worked because there aren't enough of them many hospitals
01:00:30
have closed wards because of that a last-minute campaign was launched to find 30,000 new nurses to tend to almost 400,000 hospital beds who will help you were good but you can't like that you know ask at your local Ministry of Labor office or a hospital for details of how to become a nurse there are 30,000 needed
01:01:07
the pressure on bevin continued to mount to the bitter end now the press was on his back predicting another disaster they claimed that free health care 250 million Britons would result in an anarchic free-for-all they forecast that the service would break down under the onslaught suddenly it was free so obviously it was like making ice cream
01:01:37
free I mean if you didn't have to pay for your ice cream everybody would I eat enormous quantities of ice cream as Bevins appointed day approached apprehension turned to nervousness would the hospital's come up to scratch the nurses be trained or would everything fall apart as demand soared overnight all eyes were now on the Health Minister with less than 24 hours to go to the crucial moment bevin went to speak at a
01:02:17
labor rally in Manchester it should have been a speech of victory he had defeated fierce opposition and brought down the doctors but for six months his resentment and rage had been boiling he let rip with an unprecedented tirade against his most hated enemy of all the Tory party ethical or socialist
01:02:53
seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep learning experiences on them so far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin they condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation the impact was instant and disastrous
01:03:35
within hours of the speech the newspaper headlines led not on the doors opening to the NHS but on the minister's dramatic insult to half the nation even though mr. Bevin called us vermin we must regard them as brothers with whom regard the other half of our fellow countrymen as brothers apart from their politics and realize that we have much
01:04:15
in common Bevin's vermin speech echoed down the corridors of time there were numerous attacks and some pretty vile ones true how he was living him he's wiped Italy at that time human waste was put through the letterbox never actually left him that ghost of the vermin speech will always haunt him he was the object of a lot of personal vilification for a long
01:04:43
time after that Bevins speech had threatened to overshadow the birth of his service but throughout Britain the medical profession many of whom had resisted him worked the last minute in preparation for the potential flood of millions of new patients the time had come finally on the stroke of midnight on July the fifth Bevins dream became a reality the National
01:05:38
Health Service opened for business as promised that's it cents past midnight was a telephone call mrs. blogs my child is very ill come at once bad car drove to mrs. blogs knocked on the door hello what's the trouble oh I just wanted to see if then it says works and you come out I will claim to see the first NHS patient that morning all over the country 50
01:06:16
million Britons woke up to a new world of free healthcare for the masses my grandfather wrote a book the National Health Service in Great Britain on the morning of the appointed day 5th July 1948 the whole gigantic scheme wheeled into line it was like the slow opening of the immense hydraulic doors of the vaults of a great Bank hello Sergey switchboard hello our patient
01:06:50
appointments yes you could see dr. Mitzvah this afternoon at 2:24 one of the other doctors this evening I rode my bicycle and I got to the turnoff which would take me up a street where the surgery was on the corner and there were all these people there must have been 30 40 people all queuing up to go in so open the door with trepidation I might tell you then up the stairs like a bat out of hell before these people followed me up it was quite frightening I'd be
01:07:21
perfectly honest that I didn't know what was going to happen none but a clue our little waiting room was full to overflowing and we got people on the landing and downstairs with the NHS less than half a day old Bevin paid a triumphant visit to Trafford Park Hospital in Manchester I don't think these days you see the excitement that happened on that day people were so proud of it until soft hour that they picked Manchester it was
01:07:59
like your wedding pavement I wasn't like the consultants they bought the best clothes and whatnot and machen had a new uniform and the nurses were and they're made from so starts to the left there was no pomp of attached it native and he didn't miss anybody I was and smiled all the time and didn't appear to OSHA anything and if he missed anybody or
01:08:31
what he went back to shake hands with them they couldn't believe that a minister could behave as normal as he did everybody was waving banners and thought that but the Lord have told me yeah Bevin toured the hospital like a proud father he stopped off at the bedside of a thirteen year old patient Sylvia Diggory and posed for an historic
01:09:01
photograph that came to symbolize everything he had fought for so many of the opponents to the NHS had given him very bad publicity so I suppose in a way I was expecting someone who would be rather like a typhoon descending on as you know rather full of his own importance he was charming absolutely charming he had a very nice little teen voice he spoke to me you know not as a
01:09:31
child and was no speaking down he was pleasant to everyone and he was absolutely euphoric he'd a very happy man against all the odds Bevin had delivered both on his six-month time table and on the basic promise of the NHS comprehensive health care for every person in Britain was now completely free from the simplest ailment to the most urgent surgery that was the big
01:10:06
change that you didn't ever have to ask people who's paying people were absolutely delighted to find somebody who gave what appeared to be a private service on the NHS that if they didn't have to pay for I actually had a brass plate made with engraved on it was no private patients are very proud of that patients were so touchingly grateful and appreciative of anything and I was very
01:10:37
touched because they kept giving me as if I was responsible for it they kept giving me little gifts the public embraced Bevins free health scheme with open arms the NHS as opponents had predicted it would be subject to abuse at first it seemed they may have been right people began coming in with lists of things they wanted on the free prescriptions cotton-wool aspirin bottle of gin there were
01:11:10
frivolous demands there were a few people did you've got to remember this is a time of great shortages clothes rationing and so on as well as food rationing you'd get people who wanted to get rolls of gauze to make net curtains out all but the overwhelming majority of people realized that if the NHS is an expression of solidarity you can't afford to have people thieving from it but more seriously the NHS was buckling
01:11:43
under the sheer weight of demand the demand of countless innocence and problems that had gone untreated because until now patients couldn't pay the price all sorts of things called out from the woodwork where as soon as people recognized that they could get to the doctor be seen they came and the amount of unrecognized disease that there had been around was just just breathtaking it was quite clear that we were now
01:12:16
tackling the problem as it should really be tackled there was a colossal backlog women going around with their uterus turned inside out and men with hernias the size of a balloon but they'd never been able to have repaired it was the age of tresses when you'd see this balloon with a tress on top of it people nowadays who talk as though we didn't really need a health
01:12:45
service they just have absolutely no idea of how it was decades of neglect were taking their toll on Bevins baby so far the National Health Service has been getting along remarkably smoothly in the pre NHS world few people could afford dental treatment and simply let their teeth rot away Britain's 9,000 dentists found
01:13:17
themselves swamped 33 million dentures were issued in the first year at a cost to the nation of almost 20 million pounds millions of you have got the spectacles you needed the rush for glasses too became a runaway burden to the health service production couldn't keep up soon there was a six-month waiting list and tens of millions of you have visited the doctor under the scheme and got your
01:13:50
medicine with prescriptions increasing fourfold to 240 million it was clear Bevins new service was becoming a victim of its own success the National Health Service will break down the government tried to put a cap on the NHS spending in the first year I think it was 179 million in the next year was 240 million or something like that and then the next year they
01:14:24
capped it at 352 million and it was at that stage that they began to realize that the thing was running away with itself it's ridiculous looking back that there was a feeling that the introduction of a National Health Service would improve the health of the nation so much that after it was introduced the actual cost would come down the cost continued to escalate because of the steady developments in medicine which inevitably were more costly yet despite the drain on the
01:14:55
public purse and the agonizing six-month battle over its birth the changes that Bevins NHS made to Britain's health were immediate and dramatic the Health Service started in atmosphere friction of a controversy of doubt and of great hopes there has gone on in the past a vast amount of silent suffering a vast amount of lamentable pain and I believe in Great Britain we have made a great start within just 10 years
01:15:32
infant mortality had harmed life expectancy increased dramatically death from infectious diseases had fallen by over 80 percent for many the NHS was not merely nigh Bevins finest hour but the greatest political achievement of the century they're NHS was a great achievement what
01:16:07
was achieved was the basis from which we could go forward what was happening could not go on it had to change there is a degree of altruism in the NHS that it's really very difficult finding anything else these days here is something that society has decided to do for itself to make sure that no single member of its number falls through the cracks in the floorboards I mean it's a
01:16:38
very noble way for a society's live it snipe Evans NHS and I think that people of my generation will never let that go we talk about natural treasures what could be better food free health care delivered to everybody to you and your children and their children I think it was wonderful and I'm glad to have been
01:17:09
part of it from its conception you might say till now and I wish it well on its 60th anna rama reports on the NHS and its struggle not to be put out for sale that's Monday nights at 8:30 on BBC one at Lake stare on BBC two highlights of the women's final between the Williams sisters today at Wimbledon

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: