Friday, July 4, 2008

Birth of the NHS, or a Family Guide to the National Insurance Scheme

5th July 1948

Tomorrow is the 60th birthday of the NHS. Not that I would usually mark such events in my diary, but today an item came into the shop to remind me of this diamond jubilee, and that must surely have pride of place in the window.

It's a small pamphlet of 32 pages 138 x 110 mm. (or five and three eights by four and a quarter inches in old money), prepared by the Central Office of Information for the Ministry of National Insurance, and published by His Majesty's Stationery Office.

A real little piece of history, it explains how much everyone has to pay, and what the benefits are (I doubt we'd get such a concise document today).

Perhaps my favourite part, is the last two lines of the forward by The Rt. Hon. James Griffith M.P., Minister of National Insurance. "This scheme is, therefore, more than an Act of Parliament; it is an act of faith in the British people. That faith I know is not misplaced."

60 years. Happy Birthday. Let's hope she's not yet looking to retire.

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