Dr Peter Mitchell is helping to lead an oral history project capturing the histories of NHS workers as part of its 70th anniversary. They’re now seeking the experiences of people living through the Covid-19 pandemic. Peter tells us more.
‘NHS at 70 – The Story of Our Lives’ has collected many stories from people working in, or receiving, end of life and hospice care since 2017, and is building the first Digital Archive of NHS history. Now, as Covid-19 turns daily life and healthcare upside-down for most people, the project – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led from the University of Manchester – is seeking to redouble these efforts.
Our past interviews have focused on people’s whole life experiences of health and healthcare, both inside and outside the NHS, and both good and bad. We’ve talked to hospice workers, paid and unpaid carers, medical experts, consultants and policy-makers in end-of-life care; we’ve talked to people with chronic and life-limiting conditions, and their loved ones.
Now we want to capture how everyone’s experiences, care and work are being changed by Covid-19 – how treatment and access have been changed, how individuals, institutions and communities have been affected, and how an event like Covid-19 might be changing not only how we do the kinds of work that hospices specialise in, but how we think about hospice and palliative care as a society.
Dr Stephanie Snow leads the project from the University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine; she says, ‘Covid-19 is an extraordinary moment in the longer history of UK healthcare. By capturing people’s experiences as the pandemic unfolds, we will be able to understand better the effects and impacts on lives and communities and address its immediate legacy’.
We will be collecting interviews until July 2020. If you would like to share your own experiences, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone us on 0161 275 0650 and leave a message.