23 January 2020

From bedpans to budget cuts: A personal history of the NHS in Bristol

2018 was the 70th anniversary of the NHS in Britain. There have been several initiatives to mark this anniversary by capturing the history of the NHS nationally.

This seminar seeks to make a small contribution through reflections on my professional and patient experiences of the NHS locally.

My personal history of the NHS in Bristol began in 1982 as a student nurse, often amongst the bedpans as student nurses were commonly regarded as cheap (and fairly unskilled) labour in those days. In later years I found myself as a director of public health and a health authority non-executive board member dealing with financial crises and budget cuts.

In this talk I will use some episodes from my personal experiences of the NHS as both a health professional and as a patient to explore some of the major developments and tensions in the NHS from its inception in 1948 to its 70th anniversary in 2018.

Themes to explore include patient voice and patient safety, evidence-based health care, health care versus public health, hierarchies of power in the health professions and the regularly re-occurring crises in NHS funding.

Speaker: David Evans is Professor in Health Services Research at UWE, Bristol.

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk.