What the NHS means to me

Campaign resources NHS history

Joan Hibberd, age 91, shares her memories of the start of the NHS in 1948.

Before the NHS started the doctor’s man called every Friday to collect six pence, which paid for any medicine which was needed.

Joan’s children were born before the NHS started.  She had to pay for a maternity nursing home, and separately for the doctor.

Her daughter developed whooping cough in 1948 and was ill for three months. The doctor came every day – he told her later that he expected her to die.  The doctor’s bill came to 40 guineas – £42. Her husband was only earning £8 a week.  At the end he told her that would be the last money she would ever pay him, and he was just as glad as she was.

“At my age I want to look forward to generations coming after me still having the benefit of the NHS.”