Day 316: William and the National Health Service

The facts

“It’s a smashing idea, this health service, and I don’t see why animals shouldn’t have it, same as yumans!”

  • Number: 31.8
  • Published: 1958
  • Book: William’s Television Show
  • Synopsis: Fleeing from an enraged neighbour, William takes refuge in the local hospital (to the dismay of said hospital). He is inspired to establish a National Health Service for animals.


The NHS was 15 years old by the time this story was written, and the presence in the hospital waiting-room of a hypochondriac old lady determined to ‘get her money’s worth’ out of national insurance could just as easily happen today.

“There’s vets already,” said Ginger.
“Yes, but you have to pay vets. This other thing’s free!”
“No, it’s not. You pay a bit each week.”
“Well, animals could pay a bit each week.”

The scene in which William is forced by circumstance into faking a broken arm (albeit one which has miraculously recovered) shows how ready he was to take a leaf out of her book.

What could less easily happen today, or any day, though, is the way that William’s entirely well-meaning antics manage to enrage three entirely separate men who ultimately, and largely coincidentally, come together seeking to exert vengeance.

A fun story of the ‘William attempts to do social good’ variety.