You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

History   >   Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48

When did the NHS begin?

  • About
  • Transcript
  • Cite

Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48

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.

When did the NHS begin?

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.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gosling, G. (2021, February 02). Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48 - When did the NHS begin? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gosling, G. "Britain – Healthcare, c.1900-48 – When did the NHS begin?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 02 Feb 2021,


Dr George Gosling

Dr George Gosling

Wolverhampton University