A brief history of the NHS


In the summer of 1948 a leaflet was sent to every house in England about the NHS, stating: “It will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

This month the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday – seven decades of inspirational work, of selfless care and life-extending treatments. In celebration and by way of thanks, the Local Buyers Club is offering 70% off membership to all NHS workers this year. (Click here if you work for the NHS)

And we’ve taken a moment to share some highlights in the NHS’ history.

Until 1948 patients generally had to pay for health care – those who worked contributed to National Insurance to help fund their own medical treatment. This usually meant women and children weren’t covered. In the 1930s thousands of children died each year of infectious diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and polio. Around one in 20 babies died before their first birthday.