Joan Hibberd, age 91, shares her memories of the start of the NHS in 1948.

Before the NHS started the doctor’s man called every Friday to collect six pence, which paid for any medicine which was needed.

Joan’s children were born before the NHS started.  She had to pay for a maternity nursing home, and separately for the doctor.

Her daughter developed whooping cough in 1948 and was ill for three months. The doctor came every day – he told her later that he expected her to die.  The doctor’s bill came to 40 guineas – £42. Her husband was only earning £8 a week.  At the end he told her that would be the last money she would ever pay him, and he was just as glad as she was.

“At my age I want to look forward to generations coming after me still having the benefit of the NHS.”

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3 Comments

  1. Jean Smith says:

    Wonderful woman, and so right!!

  2. Mina Rodgers says:

    These are the people who cherish our NHS. it appears that we are heading backwards with Health and Social Care. Free Health Care is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Back to the bad old days when if you have the money to pay for your Health Care you got treated by a doctor and if you didn’t you were left to die.

  3. eric watts says:

    True, and the late Prof Harry Keen recounted how, in 1948 he had been working as a GP and visitied the home of a sick child he had seen earlier in the week only for the mother to say “you must n’t come in. we can’t afford you” and for him to be able to reply “From today it will not cost you anything, I am paid by the NHS”

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