How the NHS was organised

So how did we get here? Independent Practitioner Today looks back on the history of the National Health Service in the second of a series adapted from a new book by Dr Ellen Welch.


Newspaper adverts explained to people how to use their new National Health Service

The NHS was planned as a three-tier service, with the Minister of Health overseeing it at the top, and three tiers which could interact with each other to suit the needs of the patient to include:

 Hospitals – Both the municipal and voluntary hospitals were nationalised and organised into 14 regional groups or hospital boards.

 Primary care – GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians all remained as self-employed professionals, contracted by local executive councils to provide services to the NHS so that the patient did not have to pay directly.

 Local authority services – Community services, such as the provision of midwifery and health visiting services, school medical services, ambulance services, immunisation and public health, remained the responsibility of the local authorities.