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The NHS: A Difficult Beginning

Britain's National Health Service celebrates its sixtieth birthday on 5 July this year. Serving over one and a half million patients and their families every day, the NHS is the biggest service of its kind in the world. It is universally regarded as a national treasure - the most remarkable achievement of post war Britain.

Yet, surprisingly, the National Health Service very nearly did not happen at all. In the months leading to its launch it was bitterly opposed - by the Tory Party and the national press. But its most vicious and vocal opponents were the very people its existence depended on - surgeons, nurses, dentists and Britain's 20,000 doctors. To get the NHS at all required the persistence and determination of one man - Nye Bevan, Labour's minister of health.

This film tells the extraordinary story of the six months leading up to its traumatic birth.

1 hour, 18 minutes

Last on

Tue 28 Jul 2009 23:30


Role Contributor
Executive ProducerEdmund Coulthard
Executive ProducerGrant McKee
DirectorIan MacMillan
ProducerMark Hayhurst