Free For All – Why the NHS is Worth Saving

[From the back cover]

In 1948, the headlines read ‘Free For All’ as the birth of the NHS pioneered a model of healthcare based on justice, dignity and care for everyone. So how has it come to offer such poor service for patients today?


Healthcare professionals in the NHS continue to work under immense pressure, despite chronic underfunding, near-zero capital investment, negligent workforce planning, political infighting and a drift towards privatisation. The health service’s ‘new normal’ is a permanent state of crisis. But it doesn’t have to be this way.


FREE FOR ALL is a love letter to an institution that has never been perfect, but which for seventy-five years has transformed the lives and health of millions – paid for by everybody, for everybody. With a rare and deeply felt eloquence, GP and bestselling author Dr Gavin Francis guides us through its inner workings – and illuminates how and why it can be saved.


Almost unbearable to read this yet everyone, especially politicians, should - GP Gavin Francis writes eloquently about the pressures facing every corner of the NHS. Needle-sharp analysis from the front line.

Ian Rankin

Essential reading for all who want to understand why our NHS is falling apart, and what has to be done to put it back together.

David Lammy M.P.

Gavin Francis is exactly the NHS doctor you long for - compassionate, clever, curious, principled, humane - and this book brims over with exactly the same qualities. Free For All is a succinct, elegant and beautifully written account of what the NHS should and could still be, if only it were properly managed and funded. I loved every page.

Dr Rachel Clarke

An utterly compelling explanation of why the NHS is by far the most equitable and cost-effective way of delivering healthcare, and why it should be properly funded.

Henry Marsh

It is very rare for a book to make me want to take to the streets and march on Westminster, but this one did ... wise, thoughtful and considered ... I took heart from this book.

The Tablet

Zipped through Gavin Francis's wonderful new book with a tear in my eye. A heartbreaking chronicle of the NHS's near-demise, and a call to action.

Leah Hazard

Beautifully written, thought provoking, moving, heart-warming, and challenging. At a time when the NHS has never been under greater pressure or threat, this superb book gives real hope for a positive future.

Sir David Haslam CBE, past Chair of NICE

A beautiful love letter to our NHS, that eloquently argues the NHS can be saved, and it must be saved. A reminder of what is important, what we hold dear, and who we are

Christie Watson