GIG @ 70

 

NHSat70

Mae genedigaeth y Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol ar Orffennaf 5ed 1948 yn hollbwysig i hanes Prydain. Fe wnaeth creu’r gwasanaeth gweld goblygiadau dros yr holl wlad a newid ein cymdeithas ar bob lefel. Roedd syniad o wasanaeth iechyd cyfun ac am ddim yn enwedig yn bwysig i gymunedau  diwydiannol a dosbarth-gweithio a oedd, yn y gorffennol, wedi gweld e’n anodd talu ffioedd yswiriant a meddygol. I’r bobl a wnaeth byw trwy’r newid, roedd y cyferbyniad yn amlwg. Mae nifer y pamffledi, dogfennau a llyfrau ar y GIG sydd gennym yn Llyfrgell y Glowyr yn dangos ei arwyddocâd i gymunedau diwydiannol De Cymru.

Wrth i’r wlad dod yn agos at wladoli, roedd nifer o ganllawiau i drio esbonio’r newidiadau cymhleth i gyhoedd a oedd dal yn delio gyda bywyd ar ôl y rhyfel. Roedd llawer yn esbonio hanes y Ddeddf i ddod, fel arfer yn sôn am argymhellion yr Adroddiad Beveridge yn 1942 fel digwyddiad allweddol hyd at ofal iechyd cyfun. Yn rhagweld cymhlethdodau posibl, fe wnaeth y Cymdeithas Feddygol Sosialaidd ysgrifennu  ‘Control of the Health Services‘ yn 1945. Fe wnaethon nhw croesawai syniad o wasanaeth iechyd gwladol ond yn dadlau dros ymgynghori gweithwyr iechyd yn ystod y proses weithredu.

Fe wnaeth y News Chronicle cyhoeddi’r ‘Guide to The National Health Service Act‘ gan bargyfreithiwr T.S. Newhman, a oedd yn ddefnyddiol yn crynhoi darpariaethau, gwasanaethau a llinell amser y system newydd. Roedd pamffled arall, ‘A Guide to the National Health Service Act 1946‘ yn cynnwys rhagair gan Aneurin Bevan, pensaer y GIG newydd:

We have just passed through Parliament the greatest single health-service measure of our history. We are facing, at this moment, the monumental task of putting it into operation.

Mae’r neges yn glir: hwn yw foment hanesyddol sydd â goblygiadau ymarferol ac yn ddelfrydol. Mae’r pamffled, gan Hilde Fitzgerald, yn sôn am y sefyllfa bresennol am ofal iechyd: cymysgedd o wasanaethau elusen a thaliadau gyda safon yr ansawdd yn ddibynnol ar gymeriad y gymuned leol. Mae’r canllaw yn disgrifio’r strwythur newydd: Gweinidog Iechyd yn penodi Byrddau Rhanbarthol sy’n sefydlu Pwyllgorau Rheoli i redeg yr ysbytai unigol. Mae diagram ar gefn y pamffled yn amlinellu’r strwythur delfrydol:

NHS

Yn dilyn gweithredu’r GIG, mae ein casgliadau yn dangos datblygiad y gwasanaeth dros yr ugeinfed ganrif, yn cynnwys y cynnydd a thensiwn. Fe wnaeth cyflwyno taliadau ar gyfer presgripsiynau yn y 1950au achosi dicter ac mae pamffled y Gymdeithas Feddygol Sosialaidd, sy’n dadlau bod e’n anghywir ac yn gofyn am lofnod ddeiseb, yn dangos y brwydrau o’r dechrau. Hefyd, mae’r pamffledi i’r 1970au, 80au ac ymlaen (fel Defending the NHS) yn dangos bod, wrth i’r GIG dod yn sefydliad, roedd llywodraethau yn defnyddio fe fel offeryn gwleidyddol.

Mae creu GIG yn aml yn cael ei chydnabod fel un o gyflawniadau fwyaf Prydain. Mae arwyddocâd y gwasanaeth yn hollbwysig, ond mae hwn yn enwedig yn wir i gymunedau pobl gweithio. Am y tro cyntaf yn ei bywydau, nid oedd angen poeni am dalu am ofal iechyd. Mae’r synnwyr hwn o wasanaeth yn wirioneddol ddemocrataidd yn cael ei adlewyrchu yn eiriau Stephen Taylor. Yn bamffled, ‘National Health Service‘, rhan o Gyfres Trafodaeth Llafur, mae’r aelod llywodraeth a meddyg yn dweud:

The Labour Government’s National Health Service Bill is neither the beginning nor the end of the job of building a real national health service for Britain. But in this job it is the most important step we have taken so far. It is a step which will only be successful if it is backed up everywhere by a well-informed and enthusiastic public. This is going to be our health service. Each one of us will at some time make use of it. Each of us will be able to have our say in how it is run. For this service will be made and moulded by public opinion.

Am fwy o wybodaeth am ein heitemau i ymwneud a CIG, neu am bywgraffiadau Aneurin Bevan yn ein prif gasgliad, cysylltwch â ni.

 

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NHS @ 70

NHSat70

The birth of the National Health Service on July 5th 1948 is a landmark moment in British history. Its creation would have ramifications for the entire country and impact society at every level. The concept of a free, comprehensive health service was of particular significance to industrial, working-class communities that had long struggled to afford insurance and medical fees. For those that lived through it, the contrast was tangible. The number of pamphlets, documents and books on the NHS that have been collected by, or donated to, the Miners’ Library over the years is a testament to its significance among the industrial communities of South Wales.

As the country approached nationalisation, a number of guides were produced that attempted to explain these complex changes to a public still adjusting to post-war life. They briefly documented the history of the upcoming Act, usually mentioning the recommendations of the Beveridge Report in 1942 as key moment in the journey towards universal healthcare. Foreseeing potential complications, The Socialist Medical Association published ‘Control of the Health Services‘ in 1945. They, unsurprisingly, welcomed the possibility of a national health service but argued for the proper consultation of health workers during the implementation process.

The News Chronicle published their ‘Guide to The National Health Service Act‘, by barrister T.S. Newman, which helpfully summarised the provisions, services and timeline of the new system. Another helpful pamphlet, A Guide to the National Health Service Act 1946, had its foreword written by the architect of the NHS himself, Aneurin Bevan. He writes:

We have just passed through Parliament the greatest single health-service measure of our history. We are facing, at this moment, the monumental task of putting it into operation.

The message is clear: this is a watershed moment that has huge practical, as well as ideological, implications. The pamphlet, by Hilde Fitzgerald, goes on to describe the present situation for healthcare: a mish-mash of charitable and paid services with the level of quality measured by the affluence of the local community. The guide describes the new structure, which involves the Minister of Health appointing Regional Boards who will set up Management Committees to run the individual hospitals. A diagram at the back of the pamphlet outlines the desired structure:

NHS

Following the implementation of the NHS, our holdings chart its development and the moments of progress and tension as it continued throughout the twentieth century. The introduction of prescription charges in the 1950s caused particular consternation, and the Socialist Medical Association’s pamphlet, arguing against it and asking for a petition signature, demonstrates the battles that have been fought since the very beginning. Similarly, our pamphlets from the 1970s, 1980s and onward (such as Defending the NHShighlight that, as the NHS become entrenched as an institution, it was utilised as a political tool by subsequent governments.

The NHS is often recognised as one of Britain’s greatest achievements. Its impact and significance cannot be understated, but that is especially true for the working-class communities that, often for the first time in their lives, did not have to worry about paying for their healthcare. This sense of a genuine democratic service is reflected in Stephen Taylor’s ‘Labour Discussion Series’ pamphlet entitled National Health Service. The physician and MP introduced his work by writing:

The Labour Government’s National Health Service Bill is neither the beginning nor the end of the job of building a real national health service for Britain. But in this job it is the most important step we have taken so far. It is a step which will only be successful if it is backed up everywhere by a well-informed and enthusiastic public. This is going to be our health service. Each one of us will at some time make use of it. Each of us will be able to have our say in how it is run. For this service will be made and moulded by public opinion.

For more information about our NHS related holdings, or the biographies in our main collection on Aneurin Bevan, please get in touch.