Unionist role in introducing the NHS in NI has been ignored
On the seventieth birthday of the National Health Service (NHS) much of the media have ignored the role of the Government of Northern Ireland and its part in '˜rolling out' the NHS within the Province.
The reason for this of course because it is a ‘taboo’ subject because the Unionist Government of the time is regarded as ‘sectarian’ and ‘one-sided’ in this post-truth society.
Given that Northern Ireland had a Parliament, the adoption of the NHS, or indeed the 1947 Education Act, required its consent.
While there was debate on the subject, and divisions within the Unionist Party over the matter, as well as the introduction of the 1947 Education Act, coupled with the fact that the Unionist Party was not naturally aligned to the Labour Party and many of its policies post WW2,
there was agreement to extend the NHS to Northern Ireland. This was something the then Prime Minister, Lord Brookeborough, favoured, believing that the Province should keep in step with the rest of the United Kingdom.
Both the introduction of the NHS and 1947 Education Act provided universal benefits to all the people of Northern Ireland, regardless of class or religion.
Both initiatives are seen as the cornerstone of modern Britain and aligned to the core values of Britishness.
Dr Andrew Charles, Belfast BT9