The NHS: A National Treasure which Belongs to the People!

Earlier this year I came across a picture of a leaflet that really touched me, it was the original information brochure explaining to the public about the new NHS. These words have not left me since….

‘It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers and it will relieve your money worries in times of illness’

The New National Health Service, 1948 Government Information Leaflet


It left me contemplating what has changed about the world around us since 1948 and in that context, what should we hold on to and treasure, what can we improve on and how!

What has changed in healthcare is an increase and change in demand and the model of supply including our expectations, costs of services and medication, complexity of conditions and treatments. The wider context of society has also changed with lifestyle patterns, cultural attitudes, the structure of communities, potential of technology and how we are connected on a global scale. All of which has an impact on the NHS today.

What do we still treasure about the NHS today? It is no longer a single organisation simply funded and delivered in its entirety by the public sector on behalf of the electorate. We are facing unprecedented challenges and change. Cutting across all of the complexity, the golden threads which are the real treasures are not fixed traditional structures but the values, rights, responsibilities and standards, e.g. free at the point of contact, compassionate, caring, safe and not harmful. Much of which is articulated in the NHS Constitution and reiterated across many of the publications emerging from NHS England and the many recent reviews.

This year there has been many debates about what needs to be improved, becoming values led, engaging leadership, better use of innovations, but I am particularly fascinated by the potential of the combination of two aspects; citizenship and technology.

Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of the NHS, the Nuffield Trust put together a fantastic set of stories and views from ‘leaders’ with an interest in the NHS. Well worth a read for some great wisdom and insight.

Thinking about the possibilities of bringing together the power and resources of citizens and technology inspired me to begin a search of 65 wonderful stories, resources and opinion pieces written by inspirational people who are living with a whole range of conditions, who have experienced the NHS as a patient or carer of a patient and are using technology and social media to share their stories and knowledge. I have included a few outlier blogs about citizenship and participation too!

Reading these stories is an education, an emotional experience, a journey. There are some very practical insights, some philosophical points and some clear messages for developing a great and relevant future healthcare system! In fact I believe that peer support, lived experience and story sharing should be an integral part of healthcare, perhaps the next version of the NHS constitution will incorporate it?

My list is incomplete and I am hoping that readers will gift me with new blog links that I have not yet discovered to complete the list of 65 amazing stories!

Thank you to every person who chooses to spend time, energy and emotion on sharing their experiences, insights and knowledge. I think you are an integral and vital part of the future of the NHS!

In no particular order and deliberately uncategorised…..

1. Words of wisdom about life, health and diabetes

2. An inspirational story of courage and mental health recovery

3. Brilliant blog from a great guy inspiring and supporting people living with bowel transplants and Crohn’s disease.

4. Blogging about the good, the bad and the ugly of living with diabetes as a teenager

5. An interesting blog promoting the benefits of the diabetic online community

6. Wonderful young man and poet!

7. A man, son, carer on a mission to raise awareness of dementia

8. This man lives life to the full and happens to have MS, great blog and great book to go with it!

9. Really touching and honest blog about living with borderline personality disorder

10. Telling a story with photos and showing us all why people are more than their condition, in this case, epilepsy

11. Great lively blog about living with MS

12. A young world leader in diabetes who is already making a huge difference

13. A powerful woman who inspires me whenever we meet and who has an openness and honesty about her experiences of mental health and self harming which is incredible.

14.  An inspirational and witty blog from someone who is a brain injury survivor and an incredibly generous volunteer

15. A courageous and inspiring blog from a defiant woman about beating breast cancer

16. Beautiful poems to raise awareness of mental health

17. Poems and information about BPD

18. Lovely blog sharing the journey of a Mummy of a beautiful child who has Down syndrome

19. Activist for dementia care

20. Thoughts, experiences and feelings about living with MND

21. Eclectic blog about breast cancer

22. Writing about writing and experiences relating to breast cancer

23. A blog sharing the tales of an adventurous diabetic

24. A whole family blog about living with diabetes type 1

25. A beautiful and insightful journey of living with long term conditions

26. A GP and person in recovery sharing insights

27. A frank and honest blog of a woman with living with Crohns disease and a colostomy bag

28. Insights from a graphic designer who cares for his Mum who lives with dementia

29. Beautifully written blog about living with bi-polar disorder

30. Important blog about suicide prevention

31. Honest and revealing blog about living with MND

32. Written by a woman who has had breast cancer ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (John Lennon, 1970)’

33. A blog from a woman who after diagnosis with breast cancer decided to start a blog to write, scream, curse, laugh and cry about it!

34. Life with type 1 diabetes

35. Wise words on digital health and citizenship

36. Rebellious blog from a breast cancer survivor

37. Insightful and challenging blog from a longstanding community health activist

38. A resourceful and community based blog about surviving breast cancer

39. Informative and supportive blog written by a carer of a father with dementia

40. Blog about both motherhood and living with MS

41. Poems for children with autism

42. A great blog about living with MS

43. Insightful musings on living with a mental health condition

44. A blog aimed at supporting people with psoriasis

45. Beautiful narrative from the Dad of a daughter with Down syndrome

46. An informative blog written by a man whose sister has learning disabilities

47. Living with COPD

48. Living with type 2 diabetes: an education

49. Living with type 1 diabetes from a parent perspective

50. Really informative blog about living with diabetes

51. Tales of everyday life living with diabetes

52. Worldly insights from the perspective of Rethink Mental Health Illness CE

53. This blog cuts through the usual divide between patient, carer, NHS leader and citizen giving valuable unique insights

54. Tales of family life and living with type 1 diabetes

55. Insights and stories around mental health

56. Beautifully written blog about the NHS

57. Creative, visual and informative Blog about the Coping with the Big C

58. Honest and open blog about caring for Nan who has dementia (with guest blog from Nan!)

59. Something very special about this lady and a very honest account of living with Crohn’s disease

60. An education about living with the impact of PTSD

61. An honest and informative blog sharing the experience of living with epilepsy

62. A personal journey and some helpful hints on living with breast cancer

63. A blog about life on the transplant waiting list

64. Energetic blog from an inspirational young woman about living with a heart condition

65. An informative and open blog about living with a neurological condition 


Some links where there are lot of great blogs in one place: 

Good source of blogs for parents

Time to change



If you know of other amazing blogs please do share links either in the comments below or  tweet me @roz_davies 




One thought on “The NHS: A National Treasure which Belongs to the People!

  1. Well done, Roz – this is a wonderful round-up of ‘Must Read’ blogs. Thank you so much for including Alison Cameron’s inspirational story of courage and mental health recovery which I was very honoured to post as an ‘in my shoes’ guest blog. We have had some excellent and very thought-provoking blogs in the series but perhaps the other two ‘blockbuster’ NHS-related guest posts of 2013 were these:
    In the shoes of… Delia Stearnes | Practice Nurse and Expert Patient…
    And In the shoes of Rebecca Myers… | Former nurse, NHS manager and daughter:

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