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The NHS: A Difficult Beginning

Uploaded on Oct 10, 2011

BBC documentary (2008): Serving over one and a half million patients and their families every day, the NHS is the biggest service of its kind in the world. It is universally regarded as a national treasure - the most remarkable achievement of post war Britain.

Yet, surprisingly, the National Health Service very nearly did not happen at all. In the months leading to its launch it was bitterly opposed - by the Tory Party and the national press. But its most vicious and vocal opponents were the very people its existence depended on - surgeons, nurses, dentists and Britain's 20,000 doctors. To get the NHS at all required the persistence and determination of one man - Nye Bevan, Labour's minister of health.

This film tells the extraordinary story of the six months leading up to its traumatic birth.

Narrator: Imelda Staunton | Director: Ian MacMillan | Producer: Mark Hayhurst | Executive Producer for the BBC: Charlotte Moore | Executive Producer: Edmund Coulthard | Executive Producer: Grant McKee

The history of the NHS in eight minutes

Published on Apr 17, 2015

A summary of why the NHS was established, the main features, how resistance was overcome and why it is significant: