Torbay's NHS at 70 - Have you for a tale to tell?

(Last Updated On: May 21, 2018)

Have you got a tale to tell?

When health secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS in July 1945 it was the climax of a hugely ambitious plan to bring good healthcare to all. For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella organisation to provide services that are free for all at the point of delivery.

The central principles were clear: the health service would be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means.


Over at Healthwatch Torbay we thought it would be fascinating to hear the stories of local people and their earliest experiences of the NHS. Lots of you out there in, say, your 60’s and upwards, must have amazing stories to tell – dramatic, moving, funny – about those earlier days, from stereotypically fearsome hospital matrons to gas at the dentist’s (something I remember with horror!), from cosy local doctors’ practices to wonderful new means of treatment, saving lives that not too long before might have been lost.

Maybe some of you – perhaps from your own parents’ stories – can tell us something about just how different things were after July ’45?

Getting in Touch

Healthwatch would love to hear from you – and would love, too, to publish some of your stories. So why not get in touch with us?

You can call us free on 08000 520 029, or email You could even simply pop into our offices in Paignton Library, open every day, Mon-Thurs 10am-3pm, Fri 9.30am-12pm.

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!