NHS services started officially on July 5th 1948 – today, 75 years on, we are able to access amazing health care.. 

‘The designers of the NHS did not start with a clean sheet of paper. The service was a rationalisation of what existed, conditioned by a need to cajole rather than coerce somewhat reactionary interest groups. Some countries, such as New Zealand and Sweden, had forms of health service but they were not used as models; insularity of outlook prevented that. On the basis of wartime experience it was the hospital service that was most in need of reorganisation. Hospitals were in a muddle and financially at the end of their tether. There were prestigious voluntary hospitals, municipal hospitals displaying the entire spectrum of standards and entrepreneurial cottage hospitals in which local doctors could resurrect dormant surgical skills. In 1948 it had been little more than a decade since the first sulphonamide gave doctors a powerful weapon against streptococcal, meningococcal and gonococcal infections. The next ten years saw dramatic improvements in treatment greatly accelerated by research and development carried out by the medical equipment and pharmaceutical industries. …..’

This quote is from Nuffield Trust – click here to read on…..

…the cottage hospital staffed by GPs, often with consultants on call, and some with major surgery (including gynaecology) undertaken by GPs. These had often been built in the nineteenth century to provide essential care to otherwise inaccessible country populations, and more opened after the first world war as small memorial hospitals. The matron might combine the functions of ward sister, theatre sister, midwife, radiographer, almoner, resident medical officer and even cook. 

Cranleigh’s St Nicolas Church owned and used the 15th century cottage opposite the church.  The minutes of a ‘Vestry meeting’ in 1859 show that after much discussion led by the Rector – Reverend Sapte – it was decided that the cottage would become a village cottage hospital, with rules all agreed.  The local Doctor Surgeon & Apothecary Mr Napper would use the cottage to benefit locals.