Birth of the National Health Service | The early history of the NHS
CHANNEL | World Service
RECORDED | circa 1953
DURATION | 20 minutes 23 seconds
A reporter visits a maternity hospital (University College) to interview the staff and patients, and observes the care that is being undertaken, including some cookery lessons. The programme ends with a seven-minute description of the birth of a baby. It's all managed by the doctor, nurse and midwife, and seems to pass by rather peacefully.
Before the NHS existed, there was a charge to have a baby delivered of approximately one shilling and sixpence. Ante-natal classes were not introduced until the 1960s and routine ultrasound scans until the 1970s. In 1948, women rarely returned to work after having a baby as there was no maternity pay and no obligation for employers to keep their jobs open.
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