NHS in a new century with same problems

Where we are today in private healthcare owes much to the development of the NHS. Dr Ellen Welch presents more of the key milestones down its 70 years.


The new millennium brings further NHS reshuffling and financial crises. New Labour’s victory in 1997 brought The NHS Plan in 2000, which promised to rebuild the NHS for the 21st century. 

There is an influx of migrants, particularly from the EU, and retired Brits also emigrate to sunnier climes in their thousands, prompting the government to say that the NHS should not be free for those who do not live in the UK. 

Smoking is banned in public places in 2007 and smartphones and social media become common– place by the end of the decade. The NHS tries to keep up by introducing the National Programme for IT, aiming for a paperless NHS.

Its ultimate failure is deemed to be a result of an underestimation of the scale of the project, combined with a top-down management approach – central-ised authority making decisions on behalf of local organisations, with a lack of adequate engagement with the people actually using it.

2000 The NHS Plan sets out a strategy to increase staffing, hospital beds and decrease waiting times. This is formalised by the 2001 Health and Social Care Act.