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2023 marks 75 years since the birth of the NHS, the National Assistance Act that laid the foundations of the current social care system, and the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. During this anniversary period, we’ll be reflecting on how far the NHS has come, the challenges it faces today and what the future holds for the health service.

The National Health Service began on the 5 July 1948, born out of the recommendations of the Beveridge report of 1942. In 1945, the newly formed Labour government tasked Aneurin Bevan with creating a universal health system. After years of planning, campaigning and patching together varied regional health care provisions, Bevan’s model was put into action. Being free at the point of use, available to all and financed by taxation, the NHS was the first of its kind.

The NHS has evolved over the years as it strives to meet the needs of a growing population with ever-changing needs. And it has faced many challenges. Now – in the aftermath of a global pandemic, and in the midst of economic and workforce crisis – these challenges have, arguably, never been greater.

75 years of the NHS

Explore more of the history, statistics and future plans around the NHS using the articles, online resources and publications featured on this page.

  • How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries?

    Comparing the health care systems of different countries can help us assess how the UK health care system is performing and where it could improve. Our new report found that the NHS is n...

  • The NHS at 75: a letter to party leaders

    As the NHS turns 75, the Chief Executives of the Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund have written to the leaders of the three largest political parties in England.

  • The NHS then and now: a view from The King’s Fund’s archive

    For as long as the NHS has existed, The King’s Fund has been making recommendations on how it can improve. So, on the 75th anniversary of the NHS we delved into The King’s Fund’s archive...

  • 75 years of the NHS: how does it compare to international health systems?

    In this episode, Jo Vigor chats with fellow colleagues from The King’s Fund, Danielle Jefferies and Siva Anandaciva, about how the NHS has changed in its history, and what we can learn f...


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