The history of the NHS: 1958-1967

During the second decade, more and more treatments were becoming available to the public, further improving the quality of care.

Doctors’ pay

In 1960 the Royal Commission on doctors’ pay was set up. Prior to this, there were many tensions about pay and organisation within the NHS. GPs and hospital staff felt underpaid, so negotiations in 1960 led to the GPs’ Charter. This was a new contract providing financial incentives for the development of practices, and an award was introduced which for the GPs was substantial for the time being. Thus, during the second decade of the NHS, GP practices gradually became better housed and staffed, encouraging doctors to join together which was the initial step towards the development of the modern group practice.

Upgrading buildings

The war left many buildings devastated and falling to pieces, including many of the central hospitals. In 1962, a the Powell’s Hospital Plan was published, which proposed improvements of the district general hospitals which served around 125,000 people and other general developments for each district. This was a ten year programme which brought to light how underfunded the NHS was. The NHS had underestimated both the cost and time it would take to build these new hospitals.


In 1967 the Cogwheel Report was introduced. Management of the NHS was proving to be a challenge, so through this report clinicians were to have a say in the administration. There was a push towards greater focus on patients, so analysis was introduced to provide better patient-based information. In addition, divisions were created in hospitals which aimed to group staff together by speciality to look at clinical and management issues. Also in 1967 the Salmon Report pushed for senior nursing staff structures.


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