Sue Young Histories

Aneurin Bevan 1897 - 1960

February 05, 2008

Aneurin Bevan 1897 –
1960 Aneurin Bevan 1897 - 1960 was a supporter of homeopathy and in 1945, he introduced the National Health Service to the United Kingdom. Aneurin Bevan was a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties which was founded by Ronald Hubert Kidd, grandson of homeopath Joseph Kidd.

On 27.6.1946, the British Homeopathic Association submitted a Deputation to Aneurin Bevan: ‘… That in order to ensure that this widespread demand from the public is met through the National Health Service they wished certain homeopathic hospitals to be designated Teaching Hospitals under the Bill so that doctor specialising in homeopathy may be trained… The Minister in reply said he hoped the homeopathic hospitals in general would come into the National Health Service scheme, and he would try and preserve their special character by making suitable appointments to Management Committees etc. He could  not give any assurance as regard designating homeopathic hospitals as teaching hospitals. It was not his function to determine what kind of training was to be given in teaching hospitals and University Authorities must come into the question…’ (Martin Dinges (Ed.), Patients in the History of Homeopathy, (European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Publications, 2002). Pages 343 and 350. Official Report issued by the Ministry of Health of the Deputation sponsored by the British Homeopathic Association received by the Right Honourable Aneurin Bevan, MP, Minister of Health on 27.6.1946).

Aneurin Bevan promised that: ’under the National Health Service Act homeopathic institutions will be enabled to provide their own form of treatment and that the continuity of the characteristics of those institutions will be maintained… ’ (Robin Dowie, Postgraduate medical education and training: the system in England and Wales, (King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London, 28 May 1987)).

The Guardian newspaper so loathed Labour’s left wing champion Aneurin Bevan ‘… and the hate-gospellers of his entourage…’ that it called for Clement Richard Attlee 1st Earl Attlee’s post-war Labour government to be voted out of office (Manchester Guardian, leader, 22 October 1951).

Information supplied by email from Simon Gough, Archives Officer, Parliamentary Archives,House of Lords,Westminster,London SW1A 0PW. 22.10.12 STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF HEALTH AT INCEPTION OF NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE REGARDING HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITALS On the 16th. May 1946 in a debate in Standing Committee of the House Of Commons on the draft National Health Service Bill then before the Committee, Mr Aneurin Bevan then Minister of Health said “That if they (Homeopathic Institutions) are brought into the scheme it will be for the purpose of providing their own particular form of treatment” and on the 23rd. November 1946 the same Minister said “Obviously if they (the Homeopathic Hospitals) are brought into the scheme it must be regarded as a principle of fundamental importance that their special sectarian and individual character must be preserved because for the people who believe in it that in itself will be a part of the therapy and the treatment.

In trying to restore people to good health the spiritual as well as the physical aspects are of profound importance. That applies to Catholic Hospitals and to all hospitals with those special characteristic. If they are to be brought in it must be the obligation of the Regional Boards in establishing their Management Committee to see that these Management Committees are of a character which maintains the continuity of the characteristics of those Institutions. I think that I can give that absolute guarantee because otherwise it would be an emotional mutilation which nobody could possibly defend”

Again on the 18th. July 1946 the Faculty of Homeopathy had an interview at the Ministry of Health with Sir Wilson Jameson, when he stated that there was no cause for anxiety about the position of Homeopathy in the National Health Service as it was the intention of the Ministry to see that the necessary facilities were granted. He further said that special problems of Homeopathic Practitioners would be sympathetically considered.

** Title:**
Commons Sitting of Thursday, 29th July, 1948
House of Commons Hansard
**Regnal year:**
George VI year 12
Fifth Series, Volume 454

39. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to ensure that under the National Health Service persons desiring to consult homoeopath or other special classes of doctor shall be enabled so to do notwithstanding the distance of such doctors from the proposed patient’s home.

Mr. Bevan: If he is on the medical list of an area, a homoeopathic doctor can-like other doctors-accept any person living in that area, however far away the person lives, provided he is prepared to visit that person at his home when necessary.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter: Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the question of distance often affects the willing ness of such doctors who take on patients who desire this particular type of treatment? Has he considered the issue of mileage allowances to surmount that very real difficulty?

Mr. Bevan: It would be impossible to issue mileage allowances to people who wish to attend a particular doctor. The cost of the service in such a case would be insupportable, as I think the hon. Gentleman will appreciate. It is, of course, possible for a doctor to take a patient anywhere he likes, although I appreciate that there may be people desiring homoeopathic treatment who will [1528] not readily find a homoeopath immediately available.

Dr. Morgan: Will my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that the medical men practising homoeopathy for patients under the National Health Service are those who have registered qualifications and are on the Medical Register?

Mr. Bevan: Homoeopathy is a form of therapy which is used by doctors on the Medical Register, and so it is accessible, in so far as facilities are available, to the whole population.

Commons Sitting of Friday, 14th July, 1950
House of Commons Hansard
**Regnal year:**
George VI year 14
Fifth Series, Volume 477

Dr. Morgan: I want to make a point about homoeopaths. There may not be sufficient posts in institutions to enable them to serve their year of provisional registration. Sometimes the waiting lists would involve a wait, not merely of one year, but perhaps of two or three years, before a man could enter a homoeopathic institution in order to qualify under the Bill.

Mr. Bevan: Now we are treading on dangerous ground and I move gingerly as though I were treading on the fields of asphodel. When we come to consider homoeopathy and more orthodox medical practices, this is where a layman refuses to express any opinion at all if he has any sense-and I have quite a bit of sense in this field in the last five years at [1785] least. I should have thought that homoeopathic medicine is not necessarily excluded by learning all medicine. Thinking aloud once again, I see no reason at all why the intern year could not be served in a general hospital, and homoeopathic practice is merely a matter for the individual doctor to decide to do as a doctor when he has qualified. Over that, we have not the slightest control.

Dr. Morgan: I was speaking of the qualified doctor who had taken all his medical examinations.

Mr. Bevan: No. We have just said that a person is not qualified for general practice until he has served an intern year. What I am now asked to do is to make sure that arrangements are going to be made for him to serve that intern year in a homoeopathic hospital. I am afraid that I cannot give such a guarantee at this moment. As has been said, there might not be enough posts.

|** The Countess of Mar *(Crossbench) | Hansard source Thursday, 7 December 2006 In the past, Governments have reaffirmed their commitment to homeopathy in the NHS, a commitment made originally by Aneurin Bevan. (Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords, [The Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): Official Report, Volume 687*](, (H.M. Stationery Office, 2006). Page 1281). |** Mr. David Tredinnick (Bosworth) **Wednesday 17 July 2002 I should say as an aside, however, that the person who really got the process going was Aneurin Bevan, who had a homeopathic doctor—the hon. Member for Watford (Claire Ward) is looking quizzically at me, but that is true. Bevan said that homeopathy would be brought into the health service and made available through doctors, and qualified doctors can now prescribe homeopathic medicines on the health service. The only slight problem at the moment is that they cannot get those medicines up on their computers, and the Minister might want to examine that problem. None the less, that was the decision that Bevan made all those years ago.

|** David Tredinnick** (Bosworth, Conservative) Wednesday, 4 July 2007 Link to this  |  Hansard source May I congratulate the Secretary of State on his promotion, but say to him that I am astonished that Professor Darzi is working only two days a week on the project? I thought that it was urgent. Surely he should be doing more. May I alert the right hon. Gentleman to a potential problem at his Department of which he may not be aware? There are two important reports on the regulation of Chinese medicine and herbs by Professor Pitillo and the late Lord Chan. He must act on them because European legislation is round the corner and it would be very much in the mode of Aneurin Bevan, who had a homeopathic doctor and wanted a fully integrated health service. |

| Alan Johnson(Secretary of State, Department of Health) Link to this  |  Hansard source Well, well, if it was good enough for Nye, it is good enough for me. I will look into that, but may I clarify the fact that Professor Darzi is working two days a week for the NHS. He is an esteemed surgeon, and he does that free of charge, incidentally. It is important that he carries on his practice. I know that the Opposition will not appreciate this. I heard their comments from a sedentary position about his being a Minister, but I think it is right that he is a Minister and that he continues to practise. That gives him a special focus. He is already hugely esteemed and highly valued in the profession, but taking away one or other of those aspects would not make his role any easier and, indeed, would diminish it. | The 1945 General Election proved to be a landslide victory for the Labour Party, giving it a large enough majority to allow the implementation of the party’s manifesto commitments and to introduce a programme of far-reaching social reforms that were collectively dubbed the ‘Welfare State’ (see 1945 Labour Election Manifesto).

The new Prime Minister, Clement Richard Attlee 1st Earl Attlee, appointed Aneurin Bevan as Minister of Health, with a remit that also covered Housing. Thus, the responsibility for instituting a new and comprehensive National Health Service, as well as tackling the country’s severe post-war housing shortage, fell to the youngest member of Clement Richard Attlee 1st Earl Attlee’s Cabinet in his first ministerial position.

The free health service was paid for directly through government income, with no fees paid at the point of delivery. Government income was increased for the Welfare state expenditure by a severe increase in marginal tax rates for the wealthy business owner in particular, as part of what the Labour government largly saw as the redistribution of the wealth created by the working class from the owners of large-scale industry to the workers.

The collective principle asserts that… no society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means. Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear, p100 

On the “appointed day”, July 5, 1948, having overcome political opposition from both the Conservative Party and from within his own party, and after a dramatic show down with the British Medical Association, which had threatened to derail the National Health Service scheme before it had even begun, as medical practitioners continued to withhold their support just months before the launch of the service, Bevan’s National Health Service Act of 1946 came into force.

After eighteen months of ongoing dispute between the Ministry of Health and the BMA, Bevan finally managed to win over the support of the vast majority of the medical profession by offering a couple of minor concessions, but without compromising on the fundamental principles of his NHS proposals.

Bevan later gave the famous quote that, in order to broker the deal, he had “stuffed their mouths with gold”. Some 2,688 voluntary and municipal hospitals in England and Wales were nationalised and came under Bevan’s supervisory control as Health Minister.


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