60 years of the NHS
Ordinary people tell the story

‘For me, the NHS is a miracle in itself.’

Linda Lamont and Fran McCabe, March 2010

Aneurin Bevan, architect of the NHS, on inauguration day, 5 July 1948: Getty image

What is the report about?

60 years of experiences and opinions of the NHS are taken from accounts written by ordinary people from the perspective of patients, carers, health professionals and members of the public. Their views were recorded in 1949 (the year after the NHS began), 1997 (the year before its 50th anniversary and when a Labour government was about to be elected) and 2008 (its 60th anniversary) by Mass Observation.

What is Mass Observation?

The Mass Observation Archive, lodged in the University of Sussex recorded the views of ordinary people from the 1930s to the 50s. The MO Project began in 1981 as a unique longitudinal writing project of material generated by a national panel of volunteer correspondents who write in response to open ended questionnaires called 'directives. Over 4,000 people have contributed to the Project.
For more information about the Mass Observation Archive, please visit: www.massobs.org.uk
or email: library.specialcoll@sussex.ac.uk

What is special about this study?

This research is based on people’s own words, not statistics. Vividly expressed experiences and views are unique historically. They also illustrate themes which are relevant to the NHS of today and the future. Contents are overleaf.

Who is the report for?

The report will be of interest to those working in the NHS, to policy makers, the media and the public at the time when all the political parties are making the NHS an immediate and long term priority.

Download report here (7.2mb)