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District Nurse

Happy 70th Birthday NHS

5 July 2018

Seventy years ago on the 5th of July 1948 the National Health Service came into being. Aneurin Bevan, the then Health and Housing Minister of the post-war Labour Government, was instrumental in setting up the world renowned British institution, envied by many. The guiding principle was to provide free healthcare at the point of delivery based on need, not wealth.

Services including hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella organisation for the first time. The NHS was launched by Nye Bevan at the first NHS hospital Park Hospital in Manchester, now Trafford General Hospital. Earlier that day in a small cottage hospital in the village of Glanamman in West Wales, a baby girl was the first to be delivered under the NHS. Named Aneira, she went on to become a nurse, as did several of her sisters.

The achievements of the NHS have been celebrated in the media in the lead up to the anniversary and around the UK exhibitions, open days, tea parties and many more events are being held to mark the day. You can check what’s going on in your area here (

On the other hand you can listen to one of the true stories from nurses, midwives and doctors who practiced their skills in the NHS era:


Nurse on Call by Edith Cotterill (12137)

Matron Knows Best the True Story of a 1960s’ NHS Nurse by Joan Woodcock (9794)

Yes, Sister, No Sister by Jennifer Craig (8871)


Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (8676)

Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth (8677)

Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth (10028)

The Midwife’s Here by Linda Fairley (9690)


Country Doctor: Tales of a Rural GP by Michael Sparrow (6137)

Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels (9305)

The Best Medicine: the true story of a nurse who became a doctor in the 1950s by Georgie Edwards (10868)