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From the archives: The NHS began 69 years ago today

© Dominic Lipinski/PA WireThe BBC show, titled A Prescription For Murder?, looked at the use of certain anti-depressants and their potential side effects (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

AFTER today’s reports suggesting NHS Scotland should be a model for the rest of the UK, it’s a fitting time to look back on our National Health Service, which was introduced exactly 69 years ago today.

So, how did the Sunday Post mark the momentous birth of the NHS?

In an article title ‘If You Need The Doctor After To-Day’, published on Sunday 4th July 1948, a GP expressed his concern as the number of his evening patients increased from 30 to 50.

He writes: “This is because people are coming in with registration cards and queries about the new health system.

“The scheme comes into operation tomorrow. During the next few weeks I expect the number at my evening surgery to increase still further.

“Previously I spent 10 minutes probing puzzling cases. Now I simply won’t have time for that. I’ll have to give such a patients a line for the infirmary.

That means bigger queues at hospitals.”

A copy of the Sunday Post from Sunday 4th July, 1948

The writer then goes on to describe a service which sounds much like our NHS 24:

“With the best will in the world, I can’t go out to night calls unless they’re really urgent. I’ll ask for a desrciption of symptoms over the phone. The, if at all possible, I’ll give directions for treatment over the phone too, and see the patient in the morning.”

‘G.P’ also has misgivings about not getting extra rates for overtime for evening or night work.

69 years on, the NHS is a national institution. We wonder if the writer’s opinion improved!

The anniversary of the introduction of the NHS has been celebrated on social media today, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson giving their thanks for the service.