Why the NHS needs to remain a National Health Service in the 21st Century

1.A Free Health Service
2.A Communal Responsibility
3.State Funding of the NHS
4.The NHS is not a Welfare State
5.Triumphant Collective Action
6.The Cautious Medical Profession
7.Pay Beds in the NHS
8.The Equipment of a Civilized Society


The Equipment of a Civilized Society

Doubtless other defects can be found and further improvements made. What emerges, however, in the final count, is the massive contribution the British Health Service makes to the equipment of a civilized society.

It has now become a part of the texture of our national life. No political party would survive that tried to destroy it.

Since this chapter was written, new legislation on the National Health Service has been announced. It confirms our worst fears. If they are carried out the proposals will mutilate the Service in many of its most important activities.

There is, however, ample evidence that the British people are reacting sharply against them.

This sustains my contention that no Government that attempts to destroy the Health Service can hope to command the support of the British people.

The great argument about priorities is joined and from it a Free Health Service is bound to emerge triumphant.

(Excerpts from Bevan, A. 1952. “A Free Health Service”. In “In Place of Fear”: 77-97)

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27 May, 2017


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