How the NHS started in Liverpool

benjamin-mooreA Liverpool doctor first proposed a national health service and set up an organisation to work towards it being set up.

“Health in Liverpool was infamous and the hospitals for the poor were of a low standard. People either paid the bill for the doctors or they went without unless they went in the workhouse

A Liverpool doctor, Dr Benjamin Moore 1877-1922 first proposed the idea of a National Health Service “During his stay in Liverpool Moore became acutely aware of how badly the Poor Law Hospitals, which catered for the overcrowded slums of an industrial city, compared with the Teaching Hospitals; this applied particularly to staff to patient ratios.

 Appalled by the dire social conditions of poverty and destitution both locally and nationally, Moore wrote a 204-page book on the subject. 7 In it he made some practical suggestions for improvements in public health, many of which were well ahead of his time. He was particularly concerned with the high mortality for the United Kingdom of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), which he called the ‘Great White Plague’, quoting figures of 56,080 for ‘the three kingdoms’ for the year 1908. 10 Moore concluded that, with the foundation of a new ‘National Health Service’ (his words) and the provision of segregation for infectious cases in sanatoria, the disease could be eradicated” 

Moore First proposed the idea of a National Health Service in 1910, in ‘The Dawn of the Health Age’.

Moore’s reforming instincts were characterised by his foundation, together with other radical colleagues, of the State Medical Association (SMSA) in 1912. The first meeting took place in Liverpool on 26 July: its aims embodied many of the founding principles of the National Health Service established by the Labour government on 1 July 1948″

Many Liverpool Women, from Kitty Wilkinson on wards, have fought for health care in this city.


Mary Bamber (in the statue) 1874- 1938 was just one such campaigner. Mary was an organizer of trade unions amongst women in Liverpool, a Labour councillor for a while, she promoted the dissemination of contraceptive advice as a mechanism to empower women. Many other Merseyside women campaigned for baby clinics, maternity care and family planning. Thousands of women in organisations like the Cooperative Women’s Guild campaigned for universal health care. banner


It took until 1948 for the National Health service to open. We on Merseyside know how to endure and how to campaign. Join us and we can save this hospital and turn the tide of the attacks on the NHS.



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