July 5, 1948 — The National Health Service begins in the UK

Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan was a Welshman from Tredegar who rose through the union ranks to become Minister of Health in Clement Attlee’s 1945 government. In this role, he became the primary architect of the National Health Service, Britain’s public health care system. It was inspired by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in Bevan’s hometown, but operated at a much larger scale. At its launch by Bevan on 5 July 1948 it had at its heart three core principles: That it meet the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery, and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

In the years since then, it has treated millions of people, saving the lives of many, and become one of the most beloved institutions in the country – to the lasting frustration of assorted conservative governments, who are always attempting to make it go away.

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