“We should not emulate them only in armaments."

In his 1909 Budget Speech, David Lloyd George proposed the introduction of a national health and welfare insurance similar to the scheme Germany launched in 1884. Lloyd George visited Germany during his first year as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908–1915) and was impressed by the universality of their programme. The German approach provided a contribution-based system of basic health care for wage earners. Lloyd George’s plan was realised in the enactment of the 1911 National Insurance Act.


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Although local and private systems of health provision existed in the Friendly Societies and Welfare Societies; National Insurance was the first UK-wide programme of contributory insurance against unemployment and sickness. Formally titled ‘An Act to provide for Insurance against Loss of Health and for the Prevention and Cure of Sickness and for Insurance against Unemployment, and for purposes incidental thereto’; the Act applied only to employed men and their families.

The programme, nicknamed 'Lloyd George's Ambulance Wagon', provided medical care, retirement and unemployment benefits for working men who made a contribution from their salary. Men who earned less than £160 a year were eligible and made a weekly contribution of 4 pence. The fund also received contributions of 3 pence from employers and 2 pence from the government for each working man registered. Workers had to provide evidence of their contributions and could then register with a participating doctor working in general practice. GPs were paid from the fund based on the size of their ‘Panel’, i.e., the number of workers registered with their practice. Records were kept for each ‘panel member’, and the notes maintained in envelopes which became known as Lloyd George envelopes. The envelopes were stored in long narrow boxes ideally designed for the purpose, and these were referred to as Lloyd George storage boxes.

Increasingly medical records are being digitised and the physical records stored in facilities such the state-of-the-art CAS medical records archive centre in Sudbury. Despite this, Lloyd George storage boxes are still an important feature of health practices across the country.

Just one small way to remember the man whose work led to the establishment of the welfare state, and paved the way for our world-renowned National Health Service.


As well as our NHS approved digitisation and medical records storage services, CAS also provide a range of Lloyd George storage boxes.

For a free, no-obligation quote, please contact our specialist team:


About CAS

CAS provide comprehensive and secure document digitisation, information storage, shredding and facilities management services. For more than 20 years CAS have worked with NHS Trusts, Financial Services providers, and corporate and private clients. Our head office is just four miles from the City of London, supported by our advanced storage centres across the UK. CAS has an impressive array of International certifications (ISOs), which prove our compliance with the strictest national, European and international laws. They also demonstrate our commitment to provide innovative systems on security, confidentiality and quality control in keeping your files safe and well managed.


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