NHS at 72
5 July 2020 marks the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. Lighted candles will allow remembrance of those who have lost their lives to Covid-19. Clapping will express thanks to NHS staff. The anniversary offers a pause for reflection on what continues to be the most extraordinary moment in the NHS’ longer history although the challenges of the public health crisis remain.
More than 200 interviewees to date have participated, some undertaking regular interviews. Through the voices of patients, policymakers, frontline NHS staff, young people and individuals with high-risk conditions, we are documenting how Covid-19 has affected and is continuing to affect all our lives, especially our experiences and thoughts about the NHS.
To mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS, we have curated a selection of voices from our archive, in which the narrators describe their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and reflect on our broader relationship with this unique institution during these challenging times.
I was so focused that we were going to provide the best possible care for this patient as we had done for the 150 that had been admitted before him
Professor Nick Hart
So I do think the public have started to actually focus their thoughts about what it is, the NHS, and what does it mean to me? And in a way that’s kind of made them, I think, even fonder of it than they were before.
The narrative that’s been created about NHS staff being heroes kind of just creates a narrative where it’s okay for NHS staff to die. In hero films, it’s okay for the hero to die as part of the greater good. I don’t think that’s fair.
It is an incredibly well set up field hospital; it was a great privilege to be there. It was another one of those moments that’s happened in recent months, where you feel like you’ve walked into a movie.
I just felt sad on the ward. I could just see people sat in their beds, lying, just knowing they hadn’t had a conversation with anyone all day.
These four walls haven’t changed; nothing inside my little bubble changed. It’s when we come out and we find people are missing. That’s when it’ll be difficult.
Some of the biggest moments of my life have taken place in hospitals in that respect. But because I’ve stayed healthy for most of my life, it’s not been at the forefront of my mind. But right now I think of it, it’s kind of like a friend.
NHS at 70 would like to thank all the interviewees and interviewers who have volunteered their time, experiences and support during this challenging period of NHS history.