Prescription charges introduced

In 1952 prescription charges of 1 shilling (5p) and £1 for dental treatment are imposed. They are expected to yield £2.1 million in Scotland.

Annual demand in Scotland for dentures drops from 284,000 to 150,000. Patients still have free eye tests but many opt to have spectacles prescribed privately.

In 2007 the Scottish Government announces the phasing out of prescription charges with complete abolition by 2011.

Swiss TB scheme gets going

Swiss TB scheme gets goingPublic concern and media coverage contrast Scotland’s increasing waiting lists with empty beds available at reduced rates in Switzerland.

The first flights to Zurich begin in June 1951 in a UK scheme for 400 patients to be treated at Davos and Leysin. Half are from Scotland.

It is publicised as the first triumph for an egalitarian NHS – ordinary British people now enjoying the best TB facilities in Europe hitherto only available to the very rich.

Beveridge Report published

He is appointed by the wartime Coalition government:

“to undertake, with special reference to the inter-relation of the schemes, a survey of the existing national schemes of social insurance and allied services, including workmen's compensation, and to make recommendations.”

The scale of what Beveridge comes up with is totally unexpected – a blueprint for an entire welfare state including a national health service.

Start of the NHS in Scotland

Start of NHS in ScotlandFor the first time – everyone in Britain has free access to a family doctor, prescription drugs, glasses or dentures. Hospitals mostly carry on their normal daily routines – they have patients to care for.

The big difference is in general practices, pharmacies, opticians and dental surgeries coping with a torrent of demand from patients who previously could not afford treatment or essential appliances.

Cathcart Report comes out

Concern grows during the inter-war period over the relatively poor state of Scotland’s health and of the capacity of the existing patchwork of services to remedy it.

This prompts the Secretary of State for Scotland to set up a committee with a wide ranging brief.

The original chair was Sir John Dove-Wilson who died in April 1935. Edward Cathcart, professor of physiology at Glasgow University, took over and the report bears his name.

The Citadel published

Dr Finlay’s Casebook was Cronin’s most famous creation.

But Cronin had just as much influence before the war in shaping public opinion ahead of the NHS. The Citadel depicts incompetence among doctors alongside feats of courage. It retains its narrative appeal to this day.

It draws heavily on Cronin’s time as a doctor in Tredegar at a time when Aneurin Bevan, later to become the architect of the NHS, was also living there. The Citadel was made into a film in 1938 – rated by some as Hollywood’s first venture into gritty social realism.

Emergency Hospital Service Established

Emergency hospital service established

Hospitals for All: Scottish Screen Archive video clip illustrating the work of the Emergency Hospital Service during and after the Second World War.

Highlands and Islands Medical Service set up

Highland Doctor: Scottish Screen Archive video clip illustrating the work of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service.

It is born of necessity. Poverty is widespread in the Highlands and Islands and health provision is limited.


Healthier Scotland