A flashback to July 1921, and plentiful support had been given to the “Penny in the Pound” scheme for aiding Sheffield voluntary hospitals.
The Sheffield Hospitals Council had launched the scheme to support the city’s four hospitals: The Royal, The Royal Infirmary, The Children’s and Jessop Hospital for Women during the aftermath of World War One, when accommodation was short and no means to modernise or re-equip wards.
Whereby for every pound of an employee’s pay, a penny would contribute to the hospital’s finances in return for free hospital treatment, and employers would contribute a third of any money raised.
There were few who were not willing to recognise their responsibility to the hospitals.
Merchants, tailors, painters, brewers, wheelwrights, printers and many other trades had heard about the scheme.
The Sheffield Law Society had recommended the scheme to its members, and 96 per cent of staff of the Sheffield and Ecclesall Co-operative Society had agreed to pay contributions.
The Tramways and Motor committee, the Electric Supply committee, and the Sheffield Water committee, had each agreed to pay the employers’ portion of the scheme and the Parks men had shown sympathetic interest.
“Penny in the Pound” was dropped when the NHS came into being in 1948, but the Sheffield Hospitals Council survived by introducing innovative new schemes.
And what became of the Sheffield Hospitals Council?
It was renamed the Westfield Contributory Health Scheme in 1974, and as Westfield Health, has become one of Britain’s biggest Health Cash Plan providers. It moved to bigger premises at Charter Row in 2016.