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Memories tell 70 year history of NHS in new BBC series

Thursday 5 July marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service (NHS), one of the nation’s best loved institutions. To celebrate this milestone and the vital role it plays in our lives, the OU and the BBC have co-produced three programmes that showcase the NHS’ achievements and debate its future. 

The NHS: A People’s History

One of these programmes is The NHS: A People’s History, a three-part series on BBC Four, starting at 9pm on Monday 2 July.

NHS at 70Presented by Alex Brooker, the series tells the story of the NHS from its birth in 1948 to the present day, through the incredible people who work there, and the British public whose lives are in their hands. Patients and staff from all over the country share their treasured mementoes and tell their personal stories. This uncovers a 70-year history that paints a vivid, nostalgic and at times conflicted portrait of modern Britain.

OU’s award-winning history of nursing expert on production team

Photo of Claire Chatterton receiving her award at RCN Congress

Claire receiving her Award of Merit at the RCN Congress in May 2018

Claire Chatterton, the OU’s Staff Tutor in Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, played a key role in shaping the series. She recently received a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Award of Merit for her sterling services to nursing and was commended for her exceptional contribution to the RCN and the international recognition she has for her nursing history expertise. As a result, Claire now joins the RCN Award of Merit Roll of Honour, alongside the great and the good of the nursing world.

“I really enjoyed being involved in this exciting programme, which tells the story of the NHS’ 70 years through the eyes of those working within it and those whose lives are or have been shaped by it as patients and relatives,” explains Claire. “It uses fascinating objects, personal stories and contemporary news footage to tell this story in an accessible and compelling way.”

“The NHS’ 70th birthday is such an important occasion to mark, and I am delighted to be involved in doing that with this series,” she continues.

Claire is really proud of her NHS roots. “I am so proud to have trained as a nurse in the NHS and to have worked in it for many years,” she says. “It is a much loved British institution but is under huge pressures. Its 70th birthday is a time to reflect on this wonderful organisation, how it came to be and how it has changed and evolved over the years. It’s also a time to analyse its successes and failings.”

Find out more

Read more about the history of the NHS

Find out about The Open University’s nursing and healthcare courses

Explore OpenLearn for free resources and an interactive to ask what healthcare you would fund.

Read about an OU report which looked at the cost of the NHS nursing shortage

Explore our Nursing360 campaign, which shone a spotlight on many aspects of nursing with personal stories, news, and feature articles

About Author

Kath works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is a skilled communicator with more than 15 years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors. She has a BA (Hons) English and American Literature from University of Warwick and specialises in stories from the Faculty of Social Science, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, BBC programmes, and student stories. In her spare time Kath enjoys touring the country in her hand-painted camper van, Trevor.

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