MINISTER for Health Aneurin Bevan (pictured above) publishes his National Health Service Act. The Act sets out a duty for the Minister of Health to: “promote - free of charge - the establishment in England and Wales of a comprehensive health service designed to secure improvement in the physical and mental health of the people of England and Wales and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, and for that purpose to provide or secure the effective provision of services.


The NHS is founded on July 5, 1948, following an official unveiling at Park Hospital (now Trafford General Hospital) in Manchester. Some 1,143 voluntary hospitals with some 90,000 beds and 1,545 municipal hospitals with around 390,000 beds are subsumed within the new NHS.

“This is the biggest single experiment in social service that the world has ever seen undertaken,” says Aneurin Bevan at the time.


A DEPLETED labour market after the war means that the Government has begun to look overseas to help increase nursing numbers and the UK sees a large influx of nurses from the Caribbean.


By the early 1960s, GPs are complaining of neglect and impoverishment. Morale is poor and recruitment is proving difficult. The seeming crisis leads to the creation of the Family Doctors Charter, which receives widespread support from the profession.


The Abortion Act legalises abortions up to 28 weeks’ gestation for all women, not only when the life of the mother is in danger as was previously the law.


The Ministry of Health mer’ges with the Ministry of Social Security to form the Department of Health and Social Security’.


THE NHS undergoes a reorganisation: The number of regional health authorities is reduced to eight.


NHS Direct is launched in a bid to “make a difference to the lives of people in England, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. ”


THE new ‘NHS Plan’ outlines a strategy for more doctors, more nurses, more beds and 100 hospital building schemes by 2010.


A SMOKING ban in England comes into effect, following similar measures introduced in Scotland in March 2006.


DOCTORS take industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years. The British Medical Association (BMA) made the decision to strike over major changes to the NHS pension scheme.


The NHS celebrates its 70th birthday and figures show the organisation today employs 106,430 doctors; 285,893 nurses and health visitors; 21,597 midwives; 132,673 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff; 19,772 ambulance staff; 21,139 managers; and 9,974 senior managers - plus many more workers.