chapter  2
16 Pages

The health care system in the United Kingdom

Historical development of the public health care system At the height of World War II, the British government set up a new plan for a better world – for which it was worth fighting and winning the war. Sir William Beveridge wrote his report to engender commitment to the war effort. The Beveridge report initiated a modern era of welfare state construction in the United Kingdom. Among the proposal was the goal to set up a national health service, the NHS. The National Health Service was and remained the most popular feature of the UK welfare state, which was designed by Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, a member of the Labour Party. The new universal and free system of health care was enshrined in the National Health Service Act of 1946, which started to operate two years later in 1948 (Fraser, 1978; Lavalette and Penketh, 2003). Both Beveridge and Bevan believed that the NHS would make the population healthier and, thus, after an initial period of intense demand, the costs of the service would decline, which turned out to be rather illusory. Ever since then, owing to technological advance, demographic changes, and the growing administrative body, the costs of the system have continued to increase.