From a rocky start fraught with late payments in 1948, to new laws to protect pharmacists in 2018, C+D outlines the sector's defining moments, and its role in the NHS, in an interactive timeline to celebrate the health service's 70th birthday this month.
With thanks to the British Society for the History of Pharmacy president Stuart Anderson for fact-checking.
The NHS is bornJuly 5, 1948
The National Health Service (NHS) is launched by minister for health Aneurin Bevan. For the first time, patients can access medicines for free via NHS prescriptions. As a result, dispensing figures rocket past estimates by pharmacists and Mr Bevan of 140 million – hitting 202m in the first year.
This meant community pharmacists were due to receive a substantial increase in income, but the payment system crashed under the demand – incoming payments were received up to 11 months late.
The public’s reaction to the inception of the NHS was not universally popular, as Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) museum documentation assistant Matthew Johnston explains in the video.