The man attributed to bringing the National Health Service into being was a labour politician Aneurin Bevin who had been handed the responsibility for healthcare and housing by the new Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
This was the first post second war Government and we have to remind ourselves that this was a time when healthcare was unreliable and treatment had to be paid for.
From an ambulance Service perspective there was no real service, standards greatly varied and no guarantees that help would come quickly or if at all.
In Parliament on February 9 1948 Bevan urged ministers “take pride in the fact that, despite our financial and economic anxieties, we are still able to do the most civilised thing in the world: put the welfare of the sick in front of every other consideration”. On July 5 1948 legislation was passed and the NHS Healthcare System was launched.
It was out of the Bevin policy of the 1948 Health Act that the ambulance service was born. It was a weak and tottering service, full of mistakes, but nevertheless, a service that was to become the envy of the free world.
The Health Act insisted that an adequate ambulance service be provided to anyone needing the services of one of these vehicles. With this came the powers to force local authorities to provide transport themselves and not to rely on the voluntary side, as had been seen during the war.
The responsibility of providing these new services fell to the local and county councils of England, but surprisingly, not to the local hospital board, as transport was something to be provided along with other municipal duties. This was probably attributable to the fact that the importance of the role that ambulance staff could play, in relation to what we now know as the chain of survival, was not understood or appreciated in civilian life. This was despite massive experience and evidence being gained in the battlefields of world war 2.
It would be a further 26 years before the total responsibility for the ambulance service fell under the National Health Service.
However In 1948 the City of Liverpool Ambulance Service was formed.