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The NHS at 70 (ePub)

A Living History

British History P&S History Social History Victorian Era Victorian Era

By Ellen Welch
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 11.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 149
ISBN: 9781526717399
eBook Released: 23rd October 2018

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At midnight on 5th July 1948, the National Health Service was born with the founding principal to be free at the point of use and based on clinical need rather than on a person’s ability to pay. Seventy years since its formation, these core principals still hold true, although the world we now live in is a very different place to the post war era in which it was formed, and the long term sustainability of the service in its current form is questionable.

This book traces the history of our health service, from Victorian healthcare in the early 20th century, through a timeline of change to the current day, comparing the problems and illnesses of 1948 to those we face seventy years later. Politics, funding, and healthcare systems around the world are demystified and we present case studies, views and snapshots from history from people who have experienced our changing NHS.

In the 1930s and 1940s, dentures were popular wedding or birthday presents. Patients had all their teeth out to avoid multiple, costly, painful trips to the dentist.

This may seem a bizarre way to begin a review about a book on the first 70 years of the NHS, but in its first nine months the NHS provided 33 million sets of dentures. It seemed everyone wanted a pair, if not two or three. (The population in 1948 was 49.4 million, meaning that, on average, more than half the population had false teeth.)
They came free — a dramatic expression of the triumph for the social ideal that underpinned the NHS – treatment free at the time of use. Ellen Welch, a GP and cruise ship doctor, reports that in the giddy early days, dentists saw over 100 patients a day. Many had to be turned away even though surgeries were open seven days a week. By the end of the NHS’s first year, many dentists were earning £4000 a year, compared to £1,400 immediately before, almost double the average GP salary.

Congratulations to Ellen Welch for highlighting early NHS dentistry in this way. There is perhaps no better example of health service abuse.

Read full review here

John Illman, Medical Journalists' Association

Listed in 'Books of the month' feature

Lets Talk!, October 2018

...well written and researched...

NZ Crown Mines

About Ellen Welch

Ellen Welch works as both an NHS GP in West London and a Cruise Ship Doctor. She has worked in various roles both within the NHS and around the world over the last ten years including work as a ski field doctor in New Zealand and an expedition medic in Tanzania. She has won awards at both the BMA and MJA annual awards for her previous publications. Her work on cruise ships in particular has given her a fresh appreciation for the NHS.

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