People's History of the NHS

  • 08
  • FEB

Our first week

by Mathew Thomson

We are up and running with the first week of the website behind us. It is exciting to see that we are already beginning to attract an audience. The biggest readership has been for our opening blog post, although there’s also been a fair bit of attention for our encyclopaedia entries and virtual museum galleries. Thank you for those of you who have spread the word via twitter and other means, and thank you also for the encouraging responses we have received. All feedback on the website as a whole or on individual entries is greatly appreciated (you can use the comment function which is included on most pages of the site, or you can email us here).

We will be steadily adding to the content of the website. We will sometimes aim to provide material that speaks to current issues. A case in point is this week’s blog, which relates to the junior doctors’ strike. If you have suggestions for content (for instance in relation to an upcoming event), or if you can help us in the development of an encylopaedia entry or gallery, please do contact us. We have just been sent a lovely picture of baby Stanley wearing a ‘born in the NHS’ babygrow, which has been added to the gallery on this topic. We look forward to receiving more images from members of the public. Our new gallery on branding includes requests for your help at various points.

We already have dozens of members, and we hope to see that number grow quickly. After registration, members are able to post stories, reflections, and memories about the NHS in our MyNHS members section. They can respond to regular calls on themed issues – this month we are asking for their first memories of the NHS (we will report back on our preliminary findings soon). This sort of evidence from members will be vitally important in helping to understand what the NHS has meant to people and how this has changed over time. We think that members will also enjoy being able to access our MyNHS Map, which is great fun to explore. As you’ll see, we need material and stories to speak for several strikingly empty spaces on this map: so this is a call for instance to anyone in the South West, North East, mainland Scotland or Northern Ireland!

Finally, we are currently organising a series of local events in the West Midlands. This will include reminiscence sessions in hospitals and care homes, events with children, and an antiques-roadshow style event where people can bring objects, images, and memories to show and discuss. If you live in the region and would like to come along to these events, or if you have ideas about where we might stage a People’s History of the NHS event, do get in touch. The next stage will be to extend this program of events across the UK. Once again, do please contact us if you have ideas in this regard. We will post our first reports on these local events shortly.

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