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Medical History - Essay Example

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NHS, considered to be the major achievement of Clement Atlee's Labour Government, was spearheaded by Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health. People being unable to pay for their health care had been the main encouragement for Bevan to establish National Health Insurance system…
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Medical History
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Download file to see previous pages Nye Bevan was a Welsh politician, socialist, and any rule that was slightly against the common man even in the remotest way bothered him and hence, his affiliation to Labour party where he thought the real worker would attain power. His preoccupation with worker health made Churchill call him 'Minister of Disease'. Though it took real effort to overcome political and professional oppositions and scepticism even from his own party, he brought the National Health Service Act of 1946 into force. He had to struggle to win over a high percentage of professionals without compromising on the fundamental principles of his health scheme, making the famous quote that he managed to 'stuff their mouths with gold'. This led to the Health Minister's supervisory control over 2,688 voluntary and municipal hospitals that were immediately nationalised. Those were the days when the country was trying to build up housing, repairing bombing damage and eradicating pre-war slums. Bevan had his plate full of challenges, difficulties, lack of skilled labour and manpower (a generation of able bodied men were eliminated during the war!), non-existence of building material and financial constraints. 55,600 new homes in 1946 and 139,600 in 1947, 227,600 in 1948 despite a more demanding and personally more significant work on health, created a hallo of achievement around Bevan.
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As the founder of NHS, Bevan had to work ceaselessly starting from begging for additional powers. "There is already some evidence, as a consequence of the publicity which has been given to this aspect of the service, of a reduction in some cases of the burden on the general practitioners. There is a growing consciousness that people ought not to abuse the service in any particular. I am convinced that, as the service develops, there will be a growing sense of responsibility, and that discipline of this sort will not eventually be necessary in the service as a whole. I hope, therefore, that with those assurances and those explanations the House will permit me to have the powers for which I am now asking" he said, in one of his speeches.
Though, a controversial figure in British politics, Bevan was capable of marching towards the ultimate goal. Antibiotics have shown a way of treating some of the dreaded diseases and the old hospital system, after the horrifying war, was proving inadequate and useless to meet the new challenges. There were women who had ignored their health, hoping to find resources for the health of the family. Bevan had noticed that the unfortunate war and the sufferings have created an atmosphere of consensus in Britain. When NHS was established as a result of 1944 White Paper, Bevin himself was surprised at the unending number of patients aspiring for free medical care.

Patients queing to make
an appointment at the
London Hospital in Whitechapel,
East London, 1949
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