The National Health Service
It is probable that the original model for the NHS came from London’s voluntary hospitals, these hospitals owed their foundation to charitable institutions, the churches and the wealthy. In the middle ages they accommodated all the sick, whether the sickness was a result of disease, trauma or homelessness. It was mainly the church that supported the hospital institutions with staff and finance.
The big Royal hospitals of London were Guys, St Thomas’s, and St Bartholomew’s. Christ’s Hospital took the sick children, Bedlam Hospital the insane. (Hence the term Bedlam). Guy’s, was founded in 1721, and was named after the very rich bookseller, Thomas Guy. Thomas Guy was the Bill Gates of the era a philanthropist. He initially made major donations to St Thomas's hospital, but felt the need to fully fund a hospital himself. Guys Hospital is situated on the North side of the river Thames in my family home area of Southwark. (This was also the childhood home of Guy)
In 1745, the Middlesex Hospital was founded.
The Royal Free Hospital was founded by Dr William Marsden in 1828, it was different from the other hospitals as it provided treatment without expecting any form of payment from patients. This was the miniature model of the NHS of the future.
How lucky we are, we don't really understand why, we are lucky because of the NHS! it has now been in in existence for 60 years.
If I can take you back 200 years, you would be living in a country where 5% of the population were holding 95% of the wealth of the country. That means 95% of the population were poor and struggled to feed themselves. If you were unfortunate enough to require Surgery, this generally meant that without it, you would surely die. For example, if you got injured you were generally put onto a handsome cab (if you could afford it) and be taken to a hospital or doctors surgery. Here is where a doctor or surgeon would assess your wound and say, if it was a limb that was damaged and was bad enough, he would probably amputate the damaged limb. It is possible that you be one of the lucky ones and the wound was not open, then your limb would be manipulated, splinted and dressed and then sent home after a very short stay. There was not much in the way of pain killers post operation.
If you were one of the lucky few who could afford treatment, the surgeon would even come to your house and do the exact same thing, except you could properly obtain strong pain relief post op. Sadly, a high percentage would die of post operative infection anyway.