British National Health Service

January 12, 1949

Report Outline
Contrasts in National Health Programs
Development of British Health Program
Health Care Under British Program
Financial and Administrative Problems

Great Britain completed, on January 5, 1949, its first six months under a system of free health care for all residents of England, Scotland and Wales. Despite financial hardships to some doctors, shortages of some kinds of medical supplies, and complaints of red tape, the new National Health Service appears to command the support of both the professional groups and the British people.

The Medical Press of London, taking stock in October 1948 of the first three months' experience said: “It is pleasant to record that the results are encouraging. No major part of the service has either broken down or shown serious signs of breaking down. On the contrary, almost all reports suggest that there is steady development and that a general spirit of cooperation and good will is lessening the inevitable frictions.”

The British medical weekly Lancet said, Jan. 1, 1949: “After six months it is probably fair to say that the service is going on as well as could reasonably be expected.” Six weeks earlier it had said: “The majority of doctors, like the majority of the patients, have faith in the service.”

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