Nottingham Hospitals History


1944: February: It was in this year the government produced a White Paper on the subject of forming a National Health Service. In the first paragraph in the introduction it say’s:

“The government have announced that they intend to establish a comprehensive health service for everybody in this country. They want to ensure that in future every man woman and child can rely on getting all the advice and treatment and care which they might need in matters of personal health; that their getting these shall not depend on whether they can pay for them, or on any other factor irrelevant to the real need – the real need being to bring the country’s full resources to bear upon reducing ill-health and promoting good health in all its citizens.”

For hospitals like the Nottingham City Hospital the transition period from one Department of Health to another was quite smooth; a case of moving from local to national government. It was hospitals like the former Nottingham General Hospital and the Nottingham Children’s Hospital that were to feel the full force of the government’s policies of social changes as they were “Voluntary Hospitals.”

Voluntary Hospitals and those that ran them felt they would be nothing more than another department of the civil service. They put up strong resistance to the inception of the National Health Service, especially when the National Health Service Bill was passed in 1946.

A paragraph from the 76th Annual Report of the Nottingham Children’s Hospital shows that the February 1944 White Paper had already made them feel threatened. It states:

“The Government’s proposals for a National Health Service are still the subject of much discussion and negotiation, but finality has not yet been reached. The Voluntary Hospital movement, which has existed for over 800 years, must be maintained and every effort is being made to obtain our rightful place in the ultimate scheme. Our tradition is “the welfare of the patient comes first and must be perpetuated.”