There's not such thing as the British NHS in terms of one large health service - there are 4. Healthcare delivered free at point of use was instigated across the whole of the UK in 1946, but the NHS in Scotland and Northern Ireland has always been decentralised with responsibility being with the Scottish Office and Northern Irish government as they were at the time. The Welsh Secretary of State took responsibility for the NHS there in 1969. Nowadays, the Westminster (UK) department of health is only responsible for England. Healthcare (along with many other matters such as justice/policing) is looked after independently by the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, with the Welsh Senead also governing this (though with fewer other powers than the other two legislatures, which both have their own legal jurisdictions). So whenever reports of privatisation appear, they're normally specific to England, because it's only there that the Tories can carry out their ideological assault on the welfare state so directly.