NHS History Book

Also see our NHS reform timeline for a history in brief. 


The National Health Service began on 5 July 1948. Already the NHS, which Bevan described as “a great and novel undertaking”, is the stuff of history. Few people now working in it had been born when it began. Those with clear memories of the early days grow fewer, and this book is in part a tribute to their work. It is the story of the NHS, how it was set up, what happened next, and why. It aims to give the reader, whether professionally involved in the NHS or not, a chronological framework of the main clinical and organisational events.


Geoffrey Rivett is also the author of the following book, available as a free pdf download:


Hard copies of Geoffrey Rivett's work are available to order: