People's History of the NHS

Latest Entries from the Encyclopaedia

Mental Health

A significant interest in something called mental health, not just mental illness, can be dated back in Britain to the interwar years. In other words, it was not a product of the new National Health Service. Indeed, hope that the new service might provide the opportunity for a vigorous state programme directed at mental health met disappointment. Recognition of the

Representation: Who gets a say in the NHS?

The question of who gets a say in how the health service is run was a controversial question from its foundation. Should staff be allowed to help decide the NHS’ priorities? How should patients’ views be treated? What weight should the opinions of local and national government have? What about citizens? In setting up the service the 1945 Labour Government

Scotland and the National Health Service

Guest encyclopaedia entry by Professor John Stewart. Pictured: Lord (John) Boyd Orr of Brechin (1880-1971).   The National Health Service (NHS) is often, and quite rightly, cited as one of the institutions which make people most proud to be British. Nonetheless within the United Kingdom there is not one NHS, but rather three. When the post-war Labour government was building the welfare

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Raising Awareness of Breast Cancer

On the 14th of May 2013, Hollywood actress, filmmaker and humanitarian, Angelina Jolie announced that she had undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer because she carries a mutated gene that left her at an 87% risk of the disease. In an op-ed in the New York Times she outlined her reasons behind the preventive

News & Events

Comedy and the NHS in History Today!

From 20th October, buy History Today at your local newsagent for an article by our team’s Jenny Crane about the changing ways in which Britons have laughed with, within, or at the NHS from its inception to the present day. The article discusses a variety of sources – post-war public health films, cartoons, satire from campaign groups, and films from

Get Involved!

Giving gifts is an overlooked aspect of the everyday history of the NHS. The bag of grapes or magazine brought in for the patient. The bunch of flowers or box of chocolates for the nurses. The get well card and the thank you card. Even the sponsored half-marathon to give something back.

These are all everyday rituals in the NHS. They are part of its lived history yet never feature in its written history. Help us change that by completing our short survey on gift-giving in the NHS or by signing up below and become a member and share more memories.

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