Tag Archives: Bevan

How Labour built the NHS On the 5th July 1948, a young girl was admitted to Park Hospital in Manchester, to be treated for a liver condition. Little did she know, she was at the focal point of a political and social revolution. Her name was Sylvia Beckingham and she was the first patient to be treated on the NHS. She would later recall: Mr Bevan asked me if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me that it was a milestone in history – the most civilised step any country had ever taken. I had earwigged at […]
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On this day, 69 years ago, Aneurin Bevan founded Labour’s proudest achievement – the National Health Service, which was set up to provide universal healthcare for all, on the basis of need, free at the point of use. Nearly 70 years on, and the NHS is still a precious institution, with over a million dedicated, hardworking staff. In government, Labour prioritised investment in our health service, bringing it back from the brink after 18 years of Tory neglect. Thanks to the last Labour government, over 100 new hospitals were built or refurbished; between 1997-2010 there were 89,000 more nurses, 44,000 […]
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Yesterday, Lord Neil Kinnock unveiled a blue plaque commemorating Nye Bevan and Jennie Lee on their London home. It was 10 years after I first wrote an application to English Heritage asking them to consider one. And it was Jennie Lee’s birthday. Pulling the chord, Neil praised the lion and lioness of Labour politics in front of a crowd of MPs, Lords, journalists and members. I was asked to say a few words about why I had made the application as an enthusiastic 16 year old… At 16, I had contracted meningitis the week before my GCSEs. I was admitted […]
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Nye Bevan’s creation of the British NHS in 1948 has to be one of the greatest achievements by any single politician. The list of formidable opponents he had to take on is impressive, but he prevailed. At its creation he famously warned that “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it”.  Few compromises were made , but as early as 1951 he had already resigned over the introduction of dental and spectacle charges. In 1952 he produced a collection of essays “In Place of Fear”.  His warnings 63 years ago […]
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How should the health and social care service be funded in the future? Private charity and endowment, although inescapably essential at one time, cannot meet the cost of all this.  If the job is to be done, the State must accept financial responsibility. An insurance company…adds nothing but its own profits.  This profit is therefore wholly gratuitous because it does not derive from the creation of anything…there can never be a clearer case of the private exploitation of a product publicly produced. The means of collecting the revenues for the health service are already in the possession of most modern […]
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