Fundraising and the Coming of the NHS

My latest contribution to the People’s History of the NHS website is an entry for our growing Encyclopaedia on the arrival of the health service and fundraising traditions.

BHF contributions
From the cover of the Bristol Hospital Fund’s 1943 report

The creation of the National Health Service in 1948 was the latest in a string of major changes for Britain’s hospitals over the first half of the twentieth century. As a result of which, in the decades since the First World War, they had become firmly established as community institutions.

At the turn of the century, different sections of the community had very different relationships with their local hospitals. The middle classes were likely subscribers to the voluntary hospitals while supporting public hospitals through the rates. Yet they would not usually have received treatment in either, favouring instead the doctor coming to them or a stay in a nursing home. Meanwhile the respectable working classes would seek treatment in the voluntary hospitals, where they would be seen by volunteer doctors and surgeons, who in turn built up experience and enhanced their reputation by treating the masses…

Read more at People’s History of the NHS: Fundraising and the Coming of the NHS


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