Dr Roberta Bivins of Warwick History department is leading a project to map and explore the Cultural History of the NHS. Here she discusses some of the team's research and findings on BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme.
Over the next five years, Roberta and her team will ask what the NHS means to people in Britain, and how it came to have such emotional and political resonance.
Is public affection for the NHS preventing it from becoming fit for the future? Polling suggests that despite many complaints about the public health service, it is regarded as a much-loved and uniquely British institution. That's why for decades, it has been an article of faith among politicians that closing down hospitals or major medical services is close to electoral suicide.
Received wisdom is that members of the public are dogmatically attached to their local hospitals. But could our attachment be more than just dogma? And what happens when politicians and professionals believe they know what needs to change - but the public come to an altogether different answer? Amid a time of rising demand, rising costs, and changing priorities, Sonia Sodha of The Observer explores the subtle relationship between public opinion and healthcare management.
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