The NHS: A Difficult Beginning


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what would Britain be like today without the National Health Service its existence is beyond political debate Britain 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 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 available to every British citizen the National Health Service was the country 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 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