The National Health Service Act 1946 (c 81) came into effect on 5 July 1948 and created the National Health Service in England and Wales. Though the title ‘National Health Service’ implies a single health service for the United Kingdom, in reality one NHS was created for England and Wales accountable to the Secretary of State for Healt, with a separate NHS created for Scotland accountable to the Secretary of State for Scotland by the passage of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947. Similar health services in Northern Ireland were created by the Northern Ireland Parliament through the Health Services Act (Northern Ireland) 1948.The whole Act was replaced by the National Health Service Act 1977, which itself is now superseded by the National Health Service Act 2006 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
This piece of legislation was far ahead of its time. Slowly it appears to be under constant threat. Why is it that it is admired by the whole world, and the ordinary members of the public in the UK, but somehow demonised by our own Government. We should all remember the brave politicians who fought to get this legislation on the statute books in the first place. Do we really want a system where people with mental health issues are admitted quite unnecessarily just so that the hospital can benefit from exorbitant fees?