Memories of a ‘free’ health service

My latest blog post for the People’s History of the NHS website looks at the memories of what it means to pay and not pay for medical care already gathered by the project and calls for more.

L0057933 Model of a hospital promoting the King Edward's Hospital Fund
The image I used for the front cover of my new book, looking at what it meant to pay the hospital before the NHS: Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48

I’ve spent more than a decade answering a question my Nan asked me. When I was a History student and told her I was studying the social and welfare history of her own childhood, she recounted what was asked of her as a small child between the wars when her father was sick – walking from the east of Bristol to the city’s north to go cap in hand to the vicar to get a ticket, then down into the city centre to the dispensary where the ticket could be cashed in for medicines, which then needed to be taken home. In total over six miles up and down some serious hills – a long journey for little legs. Why, she asked me, was this necessary? Why was there not a National Health Service so he could simply see a doctor? …

Read more at People’s History of the NHS: Memories of a ‘free’ health service


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