National Health Service

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File:Aneurin Bevan and his wife Jenny Lee in Corwen (15368872658).jpg
Aneurin Bevan, who spearheaded the establishment of the National Health Services

Each of the four countries of the United Kingdom has a publicly funded health care referred to as the National Health Service (NHS) though only the NHS in England uses this name officially. The terms National Health Service or NHS are also used to refer to the four systems collectively. All of the services were founded in 1948, based on legislation passed in 1946, 1947 and 1948. NHS Wales was part of the same structure as England until powers over the NHS in Wales were transferred to the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969, and responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Assembly (now the Welsh Government) under devolution in 1999.

Each system operates independently and is accountable to its own political authority. Each system operates independently, and is politically accountable to the relevant government: the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, and the UK Government which is responsible for England's NHS. However, some functions might be routinely performed by one health service on behalf of another. For example, Northern Ireland has no high security mental hospitals and thus depends on using hospitals in Great Britain, routinely Carstairs State Mental Hospital in Scotland for male patients and Rampton Secure Hospital in England for female patients. [1]

The systems are primarily funded through central taxation and each provides a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free for people legally resident in the United Kingdom and free at the time of use, for emergencies, to foreign nationals. Foreign nationals also receive free treatment if they have been legally resident in the UK for 12 months, have recently arrived to take up permanent residence, are claiming asylum or have other legal resident status. Citizens of European Economic Area nations, as well as those from countries with which the UK has a reciprocal arrangements, are also entitled to free treatment by using the European Health Insurance Card.[2][3] Foreign nationals may be subject to an interview to establish their nationality and residence status, which must be resolved before non-emergency treatment can commence. Patients who do not qualify for free treatment are asked to pay in advance, or to sign a written undertaking to pay.

For details see:

Creation

The Labour Government elected in 1945 had made manifesto commitments[4] to implement the recommendations of the Beveridge Report of 1942. The report's recommendation to create "comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease"[5] was implemented across the United Kingdom on 5 July 1948. The services were initially funded through general taxation and National Insurance as part of the introduction of a wider Welfare State. The NHS was a bipartisan invention, agreed upon and accepted by both the Labour and Conservative parties.[6] Services were initially entirely free at the point of use, although some prescription charges were soon introduced in response to economic difficulties. These charges are still in place with the English NHS, but not in the other three systems.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Gorsky, Martin. "The British National Health Service 1948–2008: A Review of the Historiography," Social History of Medicine, Dec 2008, Vol. 21 Issue 3, pp 437–460
  • Hacker, Jacob S. "The Historical Logic of National Health Insurance: Structure and Sequence in the Development of British, Canadian, and U.S. Medical Policy," Studies in American Political Development, April 1998, Vol. 12 Issue 1, pp 57–130
  • Rivett G C From Cradle to Grave – the first 50 (65) years of the NHS. King's Fund, London, 1998 now updated to 2014 and available at www.nhshistory.co.uk
  • Stewart, John. "The Political Economy of the British National Health Service, 1945–1975: Opportunities and Constraints," Medical History, Oct 2008, Vol. 52 Issue 4, pp 453–470
  • Valier, Helen K. "The Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1945–97: a microcosm of the National Health Service," Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 2005, Vol. 87 Issue 1, pp 167–192
  • Webster, Charles. "Conflict and Consensus: Explaining the British Health Service," Twentieth Century British History, April 1990, Vol. 1 Issue 2, pp 115–151
  • Webster, Charles. Health Services since the War. 'Vol. 1:' Problems of Health Care. The National Health Service before 1957 (1988) 479pp

External links