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04 July 2018
The Croydon MP who played a major role in founding the NHS

The National Health Service celebrates its 70th anniversary tomorrow, but many will not be aware that a Croydon Conservative played a pivotal role in laying the principles upon which the NHS was layer founded.

Henry Willink was the MP for Croydon North from 1940 to 1948, and health minister in Winston Churchill's wartime coalition government from 1943 to 1945.

In 1944 he penned a white paper titled "The National Health Service", which proposed the creation of a health service for all that would be completely free of charge, and one that was not reliant on a person's means.

Because of this, many see him as the man who put the wheels in motion the NHS, and is therefore somewhat of a hero to many Conservatives across the country. You can watch a 1944 news broadcast online where Henry addressed the nation in a brief statement, outlining his ideas of how such a system could work.

Cllr Yvette Hopley. Croydon Conservative spokesperson for health, has commented: "No-one has a health service like we do in the UK. I have personally recently had to use the NHS' end of life care due to my father-in-law's ill health, and all the treatment and health we received was incredible..

"I can only imagine how ground-breaking it must have been for someone like Henry Willink to come up with an idea such as free healthcare. It has benefited every generation since it began 70 years ago.

"What's even more amazing is the variety of services it provides. I am the vice-chairman of the south-east cancer centre, and the NHS is of enormous help to cancer patients and their families. It really is remarkable."

Liberal MP William Beveridge started the NHS ball rolling in 1942. Henry Willink's founding principles shaped the service in 1944. And Labour's Nye Bevan launched it in 1948. On it's 70th birthday it's important to remember that the foundation story of our NHs is one of partnership. It's there for everyone, no matter where you're from or how much you earn - and always free at the point of entry.

Happy birthday NHS!

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