The NHS (National Health Service) is celebrating its 75th anniversary today (Wednesday, July 5) since being launched in 1948, but some may wonder what the UK had in terms of healthcare before its inception.

At the time it was one of the first universal health systems to be available to all and free at the point of delivery.

It was launched by then health secretary Aneurin Bevan, under the leadership of Clement Attlee's Labour Party.

The publicly funded service has provided benefits to the population ever since, but what did people do for healthcare before then?

Glasgow Times: The NHS was launched by health secretary Anuerin Bevan in 1948The NHS was launched by health secretary Anuerin Bevan in 1948 (Image: PA)

What did Britain have before the NHS?

Access to healthcare before 1948 was largely predicated on a person's ability to pay for it themselves.

The website FutureLearn adds: "Where health care was available for free or cheaply, there was a patchwork of different services that all had varying levels of quality and access."

Back in the 19th Century, the Poor Law was created which set out the responsibilities of local areas to provide help for those in need.

This help was usually provided through workhouses, which supplied basic levels of food, clothing and health care, often in return for manual labour.

Conditions in workhouse infirmaries were often poor and unhygienic, which led to calls for it to be reformed.

Future Learn adds: "In 1867, the Metropolitan Poor Act ensured that infirmaries were housed on separate sites from workhouses. The 1867 reforms also made free health care available to deprived people who didn’t live in workhouses."

Alongside that scheme, voluntary hospitals helped to look after people who weren't living in workhouses.

Glasgow Times: People received care from voluntary hospitals in the 19th and early 20th centuriesPeople received care from voluntary hospitals in the 19th and early 20th centuries (Image: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

These hospitals were funded by donations and run by volunteer staff, in the early 20th Century around a third of all hospital beds in England were provided by them.

National Insurance was then introduced in 1911 by David Lloyd George which "provided workers with some level of protection against the risk of falling ill and being unable to work".

Through their contributions, workers were then eligible to see approved doctors and receive treatment for certain conditions.

However, only those who paid into the scheme were covered, so family members could not benefit from it.