The history of the UKH Foundation starts with the creation of hospital contributory schemes in the nineteenth century.
These schemes helped fund local hospitals prior to the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 by collecting money from employees at the “factory gate” on the day that they received their pay packets, usually a Saturday, and so these schemes became known as “Hospital Saturday” organisations.
The scheme in Bolton was the Bolton & District Hospital Saturday Council whose roots can be traced back to 1813 when the residents of Great and Little Bolton organised a public collection to raise money for the first 7-bed dispensary located in Nelson Square, Bolton.
Following the creation of the National Health Service the hospital contributory schemes no longer funded hospitals, but they created healthcare cash plan products that helped people pay for medical and other healthcare services that were not wholly covered by the NHS such as optical, physiotherapy, prescription and dental charges.
In addition, the Bolton scheme acquired nursing and convalescent homes in Blackpool and other North-West resorts that could be used by local employees at minimal cost to themselves after suffering illnesses or recuperating from operations.
In 2006 the Bolton scheme acquired the Crewe Hospital Contributory Scheme and so the area of operation was expanded to whole of the North-West of England.
Both the Bolton and Crewe schemes were run as “not for profit” organisations with any surpluses donated to local medical, healthcare, wellbeing, and similar charities.
The UKH Foundation was set up in 2014 to oversee these donations and formalise the charitable ethos of the schemes.
In 2017 UKH Foundation transferred its ownership of the Bolton and District Hospital Saturday Council to Westfield Healthcare, based in Sheffield, and it is the proceeds from this transfer together with historical reserves built up over the years that generates the funds to continue its charitable donations.