National Health Stories

Episodes

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Cradle20180704

How the NHS responded to the birth of the first test tube baby in 1978.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, historian Sally Sheard looks at the arrival of the babies people never expected to see - conceived outside the human body - the miracle of IVF births.

The NHS thrives on innovation, but sometimes it needs a more personal determination to keep going in the face of years of multiple set-backs. Both doctors and women looked in vain during the 1960s and 70s for a solution to infertility. Finally in 1978 Patrick Steptoe and Bob Edwards made the key breakthrough, and Louise Brown became the first of thousands of IVF babies. Their success meant that by the 1980s there were ethical dilemmas: how to limit multiple births, like the Walton sextuplets, and whether IVF treatment was a valid part of a National Health Service.

Grave20180703

How Cecily Saunders' 'modern hospice' movement forced the NHS to plan for a 'good death'.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard reveals how Cecily Saunders and her modern hospice movement forced the NHS and the public to plan for a 'good death'.

Up until the 1950s, doctors focused on curing illness, not supporting people at the end of life. Cecily Saunders, a former social worker, was so appalled by the lack of medical care available for the dying, that she decided to re-train as a doctor.

While her long-term goal was to get the health service to embrace care for the dying, she began her mission outside. In 1967 the world's first modern hospice, St Christopher's, opened its doors, with funds she'd raised.

Dr Mary Baines, who joined the hospice soon after it opened, recalls how she helped Saunders turn hospice care into a respected medical discipline and bring rigour to the treatment of pain.

Meanwhile, Saunders also ensured that her 'modern hospice' movement was embraced by the NHS, pioneering home care for the dying and introducing 'palliative care' teams into hospitals.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Never Enough20180713

The NHS has never had enough money. How have health ministers dealt with it?

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

Like a much loved elderly relative, the National Health Service has endured more examinations and diagnoses than any other public institution.

When Bevan first launched it, he knew that there would never be enough money to meet the overwhelming need, and successive health ministers have used a variety of tactics to try to manage its chronic health problems.

Sally Sheard looks back at this intensely political organisation and asks Jeremy Hunt, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and longest serving, why health ministers rarely learn from history.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Nurse!20180712

From cleaning bedpans to treating broken bones: how nursing in the NHS has changed.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

For many, the typical image of the British nurse includes their earthy sense of humour and resilience. They've been trained to conform to hospital rules and hierarchies, yet always find ways to cope with the pressures of this demanding career. But in recent years, this image has been shadowed by darker tales of nurses' lack of compassion. Sally Sheard explores the changing roles of nurses in the NHS: now they are all graduates and are likely to be found diagnosing broken bones in an A and E department leaving the caring side of the job to healthcare assistants.

Omnibus 120180817

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this first omnibus of episodes from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Poor Treatment: How the nation battled to stay alive before the NHS. Treatments were basic and surgery was often performed on the kitchen table.

Pioneers: Enterprising individuals came up with schemes to address health problems in their communities. One, in particular, inspired Health Minister Aneurin Bevan's vision for the NHS.

Remedies of War: Britain's emergency medical provision during the Second World War gave the public a taste of what a national health system might look like.

Doctors Revolt: Before the Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, could launch his knew health service he'd need to convince the very people he'd need to run it, the doctors, who were also his harshest critics.

Free Specs & Teeth: Tracing the highs and lows that followed the launch of the NHS on 5 July 1948, one which would challenge the philosophy upon which it had been created.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 120180817

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this first omnibus of episodes from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Poor Treatment: How the nation battled to stay alive before the NHS. Treatments were basic and surgery was often performed on the kitchen table.

Pioneers: Enterprising individuals came up with schemes to address health problems in their communities. One, in particular, inspired Health Minister Aneurin Bevan's vision for the NHS.

Remedies of War: Britain's emergency medical provision during the Second World War gave the public a taste of what a national health system might look like.

Doctors Revolt: Before the Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, could launch his knew health service he'd need to convince the very people he'd need to run it, the doctors, who were also his harshest critics.

Free Specs & Teeth: Tracing the highs and lows that followed the launch of the NHS on 5 July 1948, one which would challenge the philosophy upon which it had been created.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 220180824

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this second omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Cigarettes & Chimneys: When a new deadly disease, lung cancer, began to grip the nation, the NHS was forced to consider its role - should it just treat the illnesses of its patients, or prevent them too?

Hip Innovation: Life in the new NHS gave some hospital doctors the time and freedom to innovate, like John Charnley who invented the 'Charnley' hip replacement.

Kidney Dilemma: How the life-saving invention of the 'artificial kidney' machine in the 1960s came at a cost, bringing moral dilemmas in its wake, for doctors and for society as a whole.

Modern Hospital: How the new 'modern' hospital designs transformed not only the lives of staff, who worked and often lived in hospitals, but the experiences of patients too.

Sexual Health Service: How the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge, for the first time, all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this second omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Cigarettes and Chimneys: When a new deadly disease, lung cancer, began to grip the nation, the NHS was forced to consider its role - should it just treat the illnesses of its patients, or prevent them too?

Hip Innovation: Life in the new NHS gave some hospital doctors the time and freedom to innovate, like John Charnley who invented the 'Charnley' hip replacement.

Kidney Dilemma: How the life-saving invention of the 'artificial kidney' machine in the 1960s came at a cost, bringing moral dilemmas in its wake, for doctors and for society as a whole.

Modern Hospital: How the new 'modern' hospital designs transformed not only the lives of staff, who worked and often lived in hospitals, but the experiences of patients too.

Sexual Health Service: How the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge, for the first time, all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 220180824

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this second omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Cigarettes & Chimneys: When a new deadly disease, lung cancer, began to grip the nation, the NHS was forced to consider its role - should it just treat the illnesses of its patients, or prevent them too?

Hip Innovation: Life in the new NHS gave some hospital doctors the time and freedom to innovate, like John Charnley who invented the 'Charnley' hip replacement.

Kidney Dilemma: How the life-saving invention of the 'artificial kidney' machine in the 1960s came at a cost, bringing moral dilemmas in its wake, for doctors and for society as a whole.

Modern Hospital: How the new 'modern' hospital designs transformed not only the lives of staff, who worked and often lived in hospitals, but the experiences of patients too.

Sexual Health Service: How the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge, for the first time, all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 320180831

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this third omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Scandal: How an unsung heroine Barbara Robb triggered a nationwide investigation into the care of the mentally ill, forgotten in the vast long-stay institutions.

Grave: How Cecily Saunders and her 'modern hospice' movement forced the NHS to care for the dying and plan for what's called a 'good death'.

Cradle: In 1978 Louise Brown became the first IVF baby. This success lead to ethical dilemmas: how to limit multiple births. And should IVF be free on the NHS?

Unequal: In 1980 the Black Report showed that people in deprived areas had poorer health. But it wasn't until Labour returned to power in the mid-1990s that the issue was taken seriously by government.

Protest: 40 years after the start of the NHS resources weren't keeping up with demand from patients. A baby died after his heart operation had been cancelled five times for lack of nurses.

Producers: Deborah Cohen & Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 320180831

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this third omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

Scandal: How an unsung heroine Barbara Robb triggered a nationwide investigation into the care of the mentally ill, forgotten in the vast long-stay institutions.

Grave: How Cecily Saunders and her 'modern hospice' movement forced the NHS to care for the dying and plan for what's called a 'good death'.

Cradle: In 1978 Louise Brown became the first IVF baby. This success lead to ethical dilemmas: how to limit multiple births. And should IVF be free on the NHS?

Unequal: In 1980 the Black Report showed that people in deprived areas had poorer health. But it wasn't until Labour returned to power in the mid-1990s that the issue was taken seriously by government.

Protest: 40 years after the start of the NHS resources weren't keeping up with demand from patients. A baby died after his heart operation had been cancelled five times for lack of nurses.

Producers: Deborah Cohen & Beth Eastwood.

Omnibus 420180914

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this final omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

The New Plague: At the start of the 1980s a mysterious disease, AIDS, appeared in gay men. Activists, doctors and politicians worked together to stop the disease spreading.

Policing the Bugs: When MRSA hit the headlines, the NHS had to clean up its act, with the infection control nurse leading the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Too Much Medicine: The breast screening programme forced the NHS to weigh up whether the lives saved, by early detection, justified the risk that some women would undergo treatment they didn't need.

Nurse!: Nursing is traditionally seen as a caring profession but recently this image has been overshadowed by tales of lack of compassion. What should we expect from nurses today?

Never Enough: Bevan knew that the NHS would never have enough money to meet the overwhelming need. How have health ministers attempted to deal with its problems over the last 70 years?

Producers: Beth Eastwood & Deborah Cohen.

Omnibus 420180914

The series which traces decisive moments in the history of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores the archive to tell the stories behind five crucial moments, in this final omnibus edition from Radio 4's National Health Stories series.

The New Plague: At the start of the 1980s a mysterious disease, AIDS, appeared in gay men. Activists, doctors and politicians worked together to stop the disease spreading.

Policing the Bugs: When MRSA hit the headlines, the NHS had to clean up its act, with the infection control nurse leading the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Too Much Medicine: The breast screening programme forced the NHS to weigh up whether the lives saved, by early detection, justified the risk that some women would undergo treatment they didn't need.

Nurse!: Nursing is traditionally seen as a caring profession but recently this image has been overshadowed by tales of lack of compassion. What should we expect from nurses today?

Never Enough: Bevan knew that the NHS would never have enough money to meet the overwhelming need. How have health ministers attempted to deal with its problems over the last 70 years?

Producers: Beth Eastwood and Deborah Cohen.

Policing The Bugs20180710

When MRSA and other hospital bugs hit the headlines, the NHS had to clean up its act.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

During the 1980s and 1990s, patients contracting infections in hospital, that antibiotics could no longer treat, dominated the headlines.

The strict hygienic regimes, so beloved by matrons since the Nightingale era, had been undermined by a reliance on antibiotics. When one bacterium became resistant to an antibiotic, there was always another to fall back on.

But when patients became infected with a bacterium which had become resistant to Methicillin, a crucial antibiotic in the health service's armoury, the defence against the bugs began to crumble. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA, thrived in NHS hospitals and began to spread, largely unchecked, from patient to patient.

As the numbers of patients contracting MRSA spiralled, the cleanliness of NHS hospitals, and their poor infection control, came under close scrutiny. Clostridium Difficile also emerged, alongside MRSA, as a source of public anxiety.

It was time for the NHS to clean up its act and tackle the spread of antibiotic resistance head-on, with the infection control nurse leading the fight.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Protest20180706

A baby died, wards were closed and nurses went on strike. An NHS crisis in the 1980s.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, historian Sally Sheard explores the recurrent crises caused by lack of funding.

In 1987 a shortage of nursing staff lead to the death of a baby whose heart operation had been cancelled five times. Nearly 40 years on from the start of the NHS, the resources couldn't keep up with the demands of the patients. The government published a White Paper, Promoting Better Health, with an emphasis on getting GPs to do more prevention and increase their list size, as well as charging for eye and dental tests. Margaret Thatcher had already brought in the managing director of Sainsbury's Roy Griffiths to improve management in the NHS. By 1991 there was an internal market in the health service.

Scandal20180702

How unsung heroine Barbara Robb exposed glaring gaps in the care of the mentally ill.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard reveals how the little-known campaigner Barbara Robb exposed glaring gaps in the care of the mentally ill, forgotten in the vast long-stay institutions.

'Mental hospitals', as they were then called, had long been out of sight and out of mind, a low priority in the cash-strapped NHS.

Health Minister Enoch Powell's famous 'Water Tower' speech, in 1961, announced the mass movement of long-stay patients into the community. His optimism for this plan was buoyed by the new generation of psychiatric drugs developed in the fifties.

But nothing changed, until Barbara Robb went to one long-stay institution to visit an acquaintance. She was so horrified by the conditions there that she took up the fight for its voiceless patients.

Her campaign triggered a nationwide investigation, supported by NHS whistle-blowers and patients' families, forcing the government to bring in regular hospital inspections. Robb's legacy also lives on in the more open culture in the NHS that she brought about.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Sexual Health Service20180629

How the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge women sexual health needs.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores how the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.

When the NHS began, sexual health was frowned upon. It was left to local authorities to deal with and many turned a blind eye. While family planning clinics existed, like those run by the charitable Family Planning Association, they were few and far between.

Dr Shirley Nathan, who was a young GP in the 1950s, and also worked for the Family Planning Association, recalls the dual revolution that the contraceptive pill brought about.

Not only did it promise freedom for women, it also set in motion a completely new way of thinking within the health service. All of a sudden, the NHS had to acknowledge all women's healthcare needs; sexual health included.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

The New Plague20180709

How the NHS responded to a new fatal disease, Aids, in the 1980s.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

At the start of the 1980s a mysterious disease, AIDS, appeared in gay men. There was fear that it would become a new plague. Sally Sheard tells the story of how activists, doctors and politicians worked together to stop the disease spreading.

Apart from a handful of individual doctors who saw gay men with Kaposi's sarcoma and a pneumocystis pneumonia,, there was no reaction from the government in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. The gay community took matters into their own hands and in 1982 the Terrence Higgins Trust was set up, named after one of the first men to die from AIDS, to give advice. By the mid 1980s Donald Acheson, the Chief Medical Officer, realised he had to find a policy to tackle the new disease that would be accepted by the medical profession, the gay community and government. One of Donald Acheson's great achievements was persuading Health Minister Norman Fowler that AIDS needed serious attention. This approach culminated in the famous tombstones advert voiced by John Hurt that proclaimed "don't die of ignorance".

Too Much Medicine20180711

Breast screening highlighted the issue of over-diagnosis and over-treatment in the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

Screening the British public for the presence of disease, took the health service in a radically new direction.

It was no longer just about symptoms. Certain diseases could be detected before a person even knew anything was wrong.

Screening, however, has been fraught with controversy and, over the past three decades, breast cancer has often made the headlines.

The arrival of Britain's breast screening programme with mammography, in 1988, was welcomed. As it became established, however, some experts highlighted problems with the programme and began to question its value.

Fewer women were being saved than first predicted, they claimed, and some women were being unnecessarily diagnosed and treated for cancers, detected through screening, that were not life threatening - what's called over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

Today, over-diagnosis & over-treatment is generally accepted and information on over-treatment is available so that women can make an informed choice.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Unequal20180705

How the Black Report in 1980 and others exposed inequalities in health in deprived areas.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, historian Sally Sheard looks at reports that highlighted the inequalities in health service provision around the country. The Black Report was commissioned by a Labour government but the time it was published in 1980 Margaret Thatcher had come into power. The findings that people in deprived areas had poorer health than those in wealthy regions were not accepted. A second report commissioned by the Health Education Council at the end of the 1980s suffered the same reaction. Over that decade health differences increased. It wasn't until Labour returned to power in the mid 1990s that inequalities were taken seriously by government.

01Poor Treatment20180618

How the nation coped before the NHS, with basic treatments and kitchen table surgery.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard begins by going back to the 1930s to reveal what life was like before the National Health Service began.

Back then, the, nation's health was in a desperate state and there was no such thing as a health service.

Many hospitals were on the brink of collapse. Access to care was determined by your ability to pay and treatments were basic. Surgery, for example, was often performed on the kitchen table.

The health of the nation was so poor that it was common for adults to have all their teeth extracted.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Sally Sheard presents a series tracing decisive moments in the life of the NHS.

02Pioneers20180619

How some enterprising individuals addressed the health problems in their own communities.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of some enterprising individuals who took matters into their own hands to improve health in their own communities.

While the Peckham Experiment revealed the value of preventing illness in South London, the Tredegar Medical Aid Society provided miners and their families with free healthcare in their Welsh mining town.

Having grown up in Tredegar, Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, began to envisage a far more ambitious scheme to meet the health needs of the whole nation.

He later took that vision from the Welsh coalmines to Westminster.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Sally Sheard presents a series tracing decisive moments in the life of the NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of some enterprising individuals who took matters into their own hands to improve health in their own communities.

While the Peckham Experiment revealed the value of preventing illness in South London, the Tredegar Medical Aid Society provided miners and their families with free healthcare in the Welsh mining town.

Having grown up in Tredegar, Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, began to envisage a far more ambitious scheme to meet the health needs of the whole nation.

He later took that vision from the Welsh coalmines to Westminster.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

03Remedies Of War20180620

How the Second World War helped to shape the National Health Service.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of how emergency medical provision during the Second World War gave the British public a taste of what a national health system might look like.

As the Second World War loomed, it was clear that Britain's crumbling health service would be unable to cope with the expected casualties.

There was also a growing fear that overcrowded hostels and air raid shelters would trigger epidemics of diseases like diphtheria.

So the government was galvanised into action. They brought Britain's patchwork of hospitals into one integrated Emergency Medical Service and introduced mass immunisation for children.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

04Doctors Revolt20180621

How Aneurin Bevan convinced his harshest critics, the doctors, to sign up to his NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of Aneurin Bevan's fight to convince the doctors to sign up to his new health service - the very people he'd need to run it.

Bevan's passionate proposal of his plan in Parliament wasn't quite what the doctors had in mind. Not only did he want to nationalise all hospitals, he also wanted to choose where doctors worked and how much they were paid.

The question was, how did Bevan persuade them to give up their highly valued freedom?

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

05Free Specs & Teeth20180622

The highs and lows that followed the launch of the National Health Service on 5 July 1948.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard charts the highs and lows following the launch of the NHS on 5 July 1948.

A world first achievement - Britain now provided free healthcare for all, paid for by general taxation.

The public were delighted. Waiting rooms overflowed with patients seeking free treatment for illnesses they'd previously had to live with. There was a rush on spectacles, hearing aids and false teeth.

As demand soared, the bills mounted. A solution had to be found to cope with the spiralling debt, one which would challenge the philosophy upon which Bevan's health service had been created.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

06Cigarettes & Chimneys20180625

How lung cancer forced the new NHS to ask: should it just treat disease or prevent it too?

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of a mysterious epidemic in the 1950s which forced the NHS to acknowledge its responsibility to not just treat disease, but prevent it too.

When lung cancer, a new deadly disease, began to grip the nation, the NHS was focused on treatment, not prevention.

This was a disease that doctors couldn't treat. The suggestion that something you could prevent - cigarette smoking - might be causing it, signalled a radically new way of thinking about the role of the health service.

While researchers were arguing the case for prevention, by not smoking, the Treasury was worried about the impact this would have on tobacco revenues, on which the NHS depended.

The government's top doctors had to use devious tactics to get the facts to the public.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

07Hip Innovation20180626

How life in the new NHS gave some hospital doctors the time and freedom to innovate.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard reveals how the early years of the NHS gave doctors the opportunity and freedom to innovate, like John Charnley who invented the first effective artificial hip.

With the advent of antibiotics and better anaesthetics, patients now had shorter hospital stays. This left doctors with time on their hands.

Now they could turn their minds to the intractable health problems that plagued their patients. At Wrightinton Hospital, near Wigan, patients were in dire need of a remedy for their painful arthritic hips. So Orthopaedic Surgeon, John Charnley, set to work to solve the problem.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

08Kidney Dilemma20180627

How the life-saving 'artificial kidney' machine brought moral dilemmas in its wake.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores how the life-saving invention of the 'artificial kidney' machine in the 1960s came at a cost, bringing moral dilemmas in its wake, for doctors and society as a whole.

As demand for new treatments and devices rose, especially for costly ones like kidney dialysis, doctors were faced with increasingly difficult choices - which patients should they treat?

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

09Modern Hospital20180628

How the new 'modern' hospital designs changed the relationships of staff and patients.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard tells the story of how the modern hospitals built in the early decades of the NHS transformed not only the lives of staff, who worked and often lived in hospitals, but the experiences of patients too.

When Health Minister, Enoch Powell's, ambitious 'Hospital Plan' launched in 1962, it wasn't a moment too soon. Its aim was to replace the crumbling Victorian buildings with state-of-the-art efficient designs, fit for the purposes of modern medicine.

New treatments, like chemotherapy and dialysis, were changing how patients were being treated. They involved new machines and equipment, and new medical teams, all of which needed space.

While the new space was welcome, the new hospital designs also transformed the relationships of the staff and patients within them.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

10Sexual Health Service20180629
11Scandal20180702
12Grave20180703
13Cradle20180704
14Unequal20180705
15Protest20180706

A baby died, wards were closed and nurses went on strike. An NHS crisis in the 1980s.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

In a series tracing the decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, historian Sally Sheard explores the recurrent crises caused by lack of funding.

In 1987 a shortage of nursing staff lead to the death of a baby whose heart operation had been cancelled five times. Nearly 40 years on from the start of the NHS, the resources couldn't keep up with the demands of the patients. The government published a White Paper, Promoting Better Health, with an emphasis on getting GPs to do more prevention and increase their list size, as well as charging for eye and dental tests. Margaret Thatcher had already brought in the managing director of Sainsbury's Roy Griffiths to improve management in the NHS. By 1991 there was an internal market in the health service.

16The New Plague20180709

How the NHS responded to a new fatal disease, Aids, in the 1980s.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

17Policing The Bugs20180710
18Too Much Medicine20180711

Breast screening highlighted the issue of over-diagnosis and over-treatment in the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

Screening the British public for the presence of disease, took the health service in a radically new direction.

It was no longer just about symptoms. Certain diseases could be detected before a person even knew anything was wrong.

Screening, however, has been fraught with controversy and, over the past three decades, breast cancer has often made the headlines.

The arrival of Britain's breast screening programme with mammography, in 1988, was welcomed. As it became established, however, some experts highlighted problems with the programme and began to question its value.

Fewer women were being saved than first predicted, they claimed, and some women were being unnecessarily diagnosed and treated for cancers, detected through screening, that were not life threatening - what's called over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

Today, over-diagnosis and over-treatment is generally accepted and information on over-treatment is available so that women can make an informed choice.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

19Nurse!20180712

Series tracing decisive moments in the life of the NHS.

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.

20Never Enough20180713

The NHS has always been in crisis. How have ministers of health tried to deal with it?

Sally Sheard on the characters, innovations and heroic standoffs that have shaped our NHS.