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The NHS: A People's History

Series 1

Episode 3

Duration: 59 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC FourLatest broadcast: on BBC Four HD

Alex Brooker continues to chart the history of the National Health Service via the treasured memories of patients and staff whose lives it has affected since its inception in 1948.

This episode covers 1997 to the present day and unveils a whole host of unique, highly personal artefacts. These include the homemade badges dedicated to the first surgeons to carry out gender reassignment surgery after it became available on the NHS, a nurse's uniform cherished since it was used in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics and teddy bears lovingly made from the clothes of Ellen Linstead, one of the victims of the notorious Mid-Staffordshire abuse scandal in 2006.

This is a period in which the ever-expanding and ever more diverse institution has grown unwieldy and almost impossibly expensive to manage. Budget cuts, privatisation and hospital closures have become commonplace - but the public aren't prepared to see it disappear without a fight.

Christine Wharrier and Peter Doyle wanted their NHS to keep pace with a society that no longer tolerated unequal conditions for men and women at work. They share the 'thank you' cards they were sent after they fought and won an extraordinary equal pay deal for female NHS employees, one of the biggest achieved in Europe at that time.

The programme meets Chidi Ejimofo, consultant in emergency medicine, as he unfurls the huge placard he has kept ever since he protested against closures at Lewisham Hospital. And Jonny Banger shares the prototype of the T-shirt he designed in support of the junior doctors' strike, inspired by the treatment his mum received on the NHS. Show less

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