The NHS (National Health Service of the UK)

On July the 5th, 1948, thirteen year old Sylvia Diggory lay in the corner bed of ward five at Park Hospital in Manchester, unaware she was about to make history. On that day later a stern, grey haired Welshman strode in, introduced himself and asked her if she knew the significance of where she was. That man was Nye Bevan, minister of health and father of the Britain’s new national health service, the first of its kind and Sylvia was the very first patient of the system, known simply today as the NHS.

Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq / Unsplash

Seventy-two years after Sylvia first arrived, it’s still with us saving lives and happily pissing off fiscal conservatives. But something we consider fundamental to British society didn’t have the easiest of starts.

In our very first episode we explore the origins of this ambitious organisation, what came before it and who were the people that made it happen.

It wasn’t just Britain which was having to deal with the challenges of post-war Europe–check out our episode on the Berlin Airlift to see some of the issues Germany was facing at the time.