NHS 75th Anniversary


The Friends of the Royal London Hospital celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the National Health Service with a special Piano Recital.

 On 5th July the Royal London Hospital celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the National Health Service. There were bright & busy stalls in the Stepney Way Atrium and a piano recital in the Foyer. The pianist was Stephen Rose, a distinguished voice coach and pianist, and grandfather of a hospital patient.

Before the recital the President of the Friends, Prof. Trevor Beedham spoke about the founding of the NHS and its proponent Anuerin (Nye) Bevan. Bevan became MP for Ebbw Vale in 1928 and Minister of Health in 1948. Importantly the Beveridge Report published in November 1942, which recommended the creation of "comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease", paved the way to establish the NHS.

On 5 July 1948, the National Health Service 1946 Act came into force. Bevan had overcome political opposition from within his own party, the Conservative Party and from the British Medical Association. The NHS was based on the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire where Bevan was born. In return for contributions from its members, the TMAS provided health care free at the point of need. The Society had evolved from the local Friendly Societies and from Mutual Aid organisations. The new NHS had three principles, 1) to meet the needs of everyone, 2) to be free at the point of delivery, and 3) to be based purely on clinical need.

 In spite of his nystagmus and early stammer, Bevan was regarded by supporters and opponents alike as’ the greatest of orators’ and ‘the best politician we have ever had’. Welch actor Michel Sheen recently described him as having ‘cast iron integrity and a raging passion’.

Among those attending the celebration recital was Stephen Rose’s wife, Merril Jenkins Rose. She originally grew up in Cwm, Blaenau Gwent. Her father knew Nye Bevan and she had met him when she was at school. She was therefore able to provide us with a direct link to the founder of the NHS on its 75th birthday.