NHS at 70: Looking Back

This week the British National Health Service will turn 70. The NHS came into being on the ‘appointed day’ of 5 July 1948 – three years to the day after Labour’s surprise election victory under Clement Attlee.

Photograph taken by GC Gosling in Bristol, 2014

You’ll find me sharing my thoughts on the history of the NHS and what it replaced in a number of places over the week, including the BBC History Magazine online and various local papers and radio stations.

BBC History Magazine: Paying for healthcare: life in Britain before the ‘free’ NHS – feature for the magazine’s History Extra website

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire: Breakfast Show with Trish Adudu (starts at 1hr 8mins).

Manchester Evening News: A health check for a national treasure – interviewed on the history of the NHS.

Social History Exchange: NHS 70: Before 1948 – discussing the political implications of working on the history of British healthcare before the NHS.

WLV blog: The significance of the NHS offering some thoughts for the University of Wolverhampton blog on the arrival of the NHS and the difference it made, and Healthcare in Wolverhampton before the NHS – unusual for its time, focusing specifically on the unusual mix of private and charitable services provided before 1948 by the Queen Victoria Nursing Institute in Wolverhampton.


If you’d like to read more about the history and pre-history of the NHS, here are some open access (no paywall) academic publications of mine that might be of interest:

GC Gosling, Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 (Manchester University Press, 2017) e-book

GC Gosling, Gender, Money and Professional Identity: Medical Social Work and the Coming of the British National Health ServiceWomen’s History Review, vol. 27, no. 2 (2018), pp. 310-328

GC Gosling and DS Lucey, Paying for Health: Comparative Perspectives on Patient Payment & Contributions for Hospital Provision in Ireland in Donnacha Seán Lucey and Virginia Crossman (eds) Healthcare in Ireland and Britain from 1850: Voluntary, Regional and Comparative Perspectives (London: IHR, 2015), pp. 81-100

GC Gosling, “Open the Other Eye”: Payment, Civic Duty and Hospital Contributory Schemes in Bristol, c.1927-48Medical History, vol. 54, no. 4 (2010), pp. 475-494


You can find out more about my research by clicking here.


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