Anuerin Bevan spearheads the creation of the NHS, which begins treating patients in July 1948.
The Clement Attlee-led government makes the creation of a national health service a priority for the UK’s package of social welfare reforms in the immediate post-war period.
The NHS officially opens its doors for the first time on July 5 1948, after legislation is crafted in 1946 in response to the Beveridge Report of four years earlier. The Beveridge Report is a 1942 wartime document that proposes social policy reforms for the UK and specifically recommends that “comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease” must be implemented.
On taking office in 1945, Prime Minister Clement Attlee appoints Anuerin Bevan as Health Minister. Bevan is the driving force behind the creation of the NHS, and in 2004 the Welshman is recognised for his contribution to the welfare state, voted in first place on a poll of ‘100 Welsh Heroes’.
The NHS is a free service for UK residents, while non-residents are not charged for general practitioner services and other treatments not including those administered under admission to hospital. The service is almost entirely funded from tax and National Insurance contributions, with a negligible proportion of funding coming from fees charged to patients for specific types of care of treatment.