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National Health Service History

Geoffrey Rivett

home inheritance1948-19571958-19671968-1977 1978-1987  1988-19971998-2007 2008-20172018 - 2027envoishort history London's hospitals




Medical and Institutional history of the National Health Service The Development of the London Hospital System, 1823 - 2015
Geoffrey Rivett From Cradle to Grave - the first 65 years of the NHS


Geoffrey Rivett writes contemporary medical and institutional history.  His two books, originally published by the King's Fund, are kept up to date on internet on this site; navigate by using the links at the top.


There are advantages in having easy access to your own copy.  The original editions of both are out of print so they have been brought up to date and are now available again in revised second editions. 

They are available on a "print on order" basis on paper, and also as a pdf and as an e-book.  They cost less than they did 20-30 years ago, about £20 if you choose a soft cover and black and white printing on cream paper.


The Development of the London Hospital System has been updated to March 2015 Cradle to Grave part two has been updated to October 2017

Click on the photo of the front cover

to purchase it on print to order, delivery about 8 days.



The Development of the London Hospital System runs from 1823 to the book cover Londonpresent day.  It is now being transferred to a new web address, just for London. The new address is www.londonhospitalsystem.com.

covers the roots of the hospitals, poor law, voluntary and fever, and how they came to be part of a system.  It deals with the steps leading to the creation of the NHS better than the history of the NHS that starts in 1948 and takes the existence of the NHS as a given.

It is available as hard copy on print-to-order and costs from £5 to £25 depending on the format required, hard copy, pdf or e-book.


The second book, Cradle to Grave, in two volumes, is the history of the National Health Service.  It is substantially longer and includes much clinical material and sections nursing and medicine, as well as organisational, political and financial material.  From Cradle to Grave is the most substantial account available of the NHS since its inception - what has happened from 1948 onwards and why, rather than what people think will happen. 


Cradle to Grave includes extra material since the first edition was published in 1998 which made it necessary to split it into two volumes.  The first covers the first four decades and the second from 1988 onwards. Part two has been updated (in October 2017) to cover recent events.  Both parts can now be purchased in hard copy, or as a pdf or an e-book which is far cheaper.  Links will take you to the publisher's website, and if you purchase a book (and not a download) it will usually be delivered within about 8 days by courier.


book cover

cover part 2


Recent additions to the text on line include

How does the NHS work? - King's Fund animation.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans: King's Fund review
Gosport Memorial Hospital deaths
Parliamentary briefing on NHS Structure (2016)
and the Commissioning System up to 2013.
Expansion of English medical school intake.
More money for the NHS, June 2018
Monitor and TDA merged as NHS Improvement, 1 April 2016
Mesh implant issue
Increased central control and financial guidance.
Zitka virus outbreak
Jeremy Hunt's vision for the NHS (video)

NHS England Five Year Forward View & primary care models.

Site contents include
inheritance of the NHS in 1948 and the events from 1948 by decade

a summary of the past decades
a simple guide to the NHS (recently revised)and a link to BBC Archives on the NHS
a list of CMOs & Ministers pre and post 1948
Financial information,
earlier (for the UK) and later (for England) periods - see Parliamentary briefing)
site contents

Geoffrey Rivett  asserts intellectual ownership/copyright over this material.  However, you are at liberty to download the text for personal use, but not for commercial reproduction in another publication or web site, or for multiple copying for academic or business purposes.  You may use material from this site referencing as Rivett G. C. National Health Service History n.d. retrieved 8 July 2015 from www.nhshistory.net  (give correct date)

Declaration of interest:  I create, design and manage this site.  It receives no financial support from any quarter, and I am retired and neither in employment nor act in any consultant capacity. I welcome feedback.

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