5 July 1948 – The NHS is born
When health secretary Aneurin Bevan opens Park Hospital in Manchester, it is the climax of a hugely ambitious plan to bring good healthcare to all. For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are brought together under one umbrella organisation to provide services that are free for all at the point of delivery.
The central principles are clear: the health service will be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means.
1952 – Charges of one shilling are introduced for prescriptions
Prescription charges of one shilling (5p) are introduced and a flat rate of £1 for ordinary dental treatment is also brought in on 1 June 1952. Prescription charges are abolished in 1965 and prescriptions remain free until June 1968, when the charges are reintroduced.