We are going to ‘Tredegarise’ you

Can the origins of Britain’s National Health Service be traced to a small town in the Welsh valleys? The first of a two-part piece on health provision in the UK before the NHS looks at whether the Tredegar medical aid scheme was a victim of its own success.

Britain’s National Health Service was introduced as part of the country’s wartime commitment to its people. The National Health Service Act 1946 was passed through a House of Commons packed with Labour MPs, following their landslide victory in 1945. Although the NHS was a creature of the Attlee government, the introduction of some form of universal health provision seemed inevitable regardless of the election results.

The British Medical Association had issued a pamphlet in 1938 entitled “A General Medical Service for the Nation”. The Second World War ushered in a centralised and state-run Emergency Medical Service. The possible slowly crystallised into the inevitable by 1941 when a senior civil servant in the Department of Health could write that there was consensus on:

“a complete health service to be available to every member of the community”.

Continue reading “We are going to ‘Tredegarise’ you”