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5 July 1948

Establishment of the National Health Service

The NHS took control of 480,000 hospital beds in England and Wales, that had belonged to local authorities, or were independent voluntary hospitals.

31 March 1950

'Public Health in 1948: remarkable statistics' report

The Ministry of Health published a report examining health and mortality outcomes during the first months of the NHS.

30 September 1950

First UK report linking smoking to cancer

The work of Richard Doll and Tony Bradford Hill was instrumental in determining that most lung cancers were caused by cigarette smoking.

July 1956

Clean Air Act 1956

Legislation aimed at tackling the smog and air pollution created by the burning of coal and industrial activities.

March 1962

Royal College of Physicians' 'Smoking and Health' report

The Royal College of Physicians published a report on the link between smoking and cancer of the lung and other diseases, with recommended interventions.


UK's first substantive water fluoridation scheme

Birmingham introduced the first substantive water fluoridation scheme to help prevent tooth decay.


NHS Family Planning Act and the Abortion Act

Following changes in societal attitudes in the 1960s, legislation increased access to contraceptive advice and legalised abortion under certain conditions.


Front seat belts required in new cars

New cars in the UK were required to be fitted with seat belts in the front seat.


Two green papers on structural reform of the NHS

'Administrative structure of the medical and related services in England and Wales' and 'Future structure of the National Health Service in England' proposed the creation of area authorities.