National Health Service begins

“Your new National Health Service begins on 5th July. What is it? How do you get it?” This was the title of a pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Health about the new NHS in 1948. It went on to say:

“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”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

We have a number of photographs and documents in our archive from this time. Salisbury General Infirmary Annual reports from 1946 and 1946 detail the far-reaching changes about to take place to hospitals and healthcare. An extract reads,

“1946: The year has been one of great activity in the Hospital World. March saw the advent of the long awaited National Health Service Bill which went through all stages in Parliament and received the Royal assent on the 6th November.”

It goes on to comment, “The date of the transfer of the Hospital service to the responsibility of the Minister of Health has been fixed at 5th July, 1948.” The 1947 report details the anticipated changes to the hospital management. Photographs from 1948 show NHS staff assembled at Salisbury General Hospital, Odstock (now Salisbury District Hospital). The admin block seen in the background of one of the photographs has barely changed today, as the contemporary photo of what are now offices for the Trust senior management shows.


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