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  1. The NHS will be 70 on 5 July 1948
  2. Labour Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan founded the organisation
  3. The NHS brought doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians, dentists and hospitals together for the first time
  4. It was the first time health services were free for all at the point of delivery

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The NHS at 70

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What are your memories of the NHS?

To mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS we are sharing people's memories and stories of the health service from across the decades.

We'll be posting stories from patients and staff as they reflect on their time on wards, in hospitals or surgeries. We'll also be answering your questions about the service as it has evolved over the past 70 years.

If you have a story, picture or question you wish to share get in touch by emailing

Love on the wards

Richard Crow from Aylesbury was a patient at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1977

Richard and Karen in 1977
Richard Crow
Richard and Karen in 1977

"I was on the ward in May 1977 following a motorcycle crash I was 19 years old at the time.

"Karen started her training that same year. She started in August and was one of the full time nurses on the ward.

"It was one of the other nurses, Agnes, who got us together.

"In between bed baths she was fixing me up with dates. She’d tell me that she thought Karen liked me and then tell Karen that she thought I liked her.

"The ward matron used to say to Karen that you shouldn’t get involved with the patients but she was married to a former patient herself, so it was a case of do as I say and not as I do."

Tea and cake on the wards

Bernadette Stratton began training as a nurse in February 1980 at Guy's Hospital in London

Bernadette Stratton (far right) as a nursing student at Guy's Hospital in 1982
Bernadette Stratton
Bernadette Stratton (far right) as a nursing student at Guy's Hospital in 1982

"In 1980 when I started training patients used to get a piece of plain sponge cake with their coffee or tea in the afternoon.

"We used to get a patients to deliver it. It was good for moral and helped them to socialise too.

"But then cake became bread and butter with jam, then just bread and butter.

"It was due to cuts at the time.

"We used to say that it wasn’t like it used to be."

Bernadette left the NHS in 1984 to work as a nurse in Virginia in the US.

Words of wisdom

Sean Pannell was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1977 at the age of 13.

Dr Thomas was my consultant at Mount Vernon Hospital in Middlesex from 1982 to 1997.

He told me something that has stayed with me and that I now pass on to other people with diabetes.

His said: “You have a condition which you must respect, but you are its master.”

I could tell he respected me for the way I mastered my condition.

There was a professional distance between us but I saw him as a friend.

Sadly on the day I was due to be discharged from hospital Dr Thomas had a car crash and suffered serious brain damage. I never saw him again.

We all have regrets in life and one of mine is that I never got the chance to thank him for looking after me for so many years. He was my hero.

'These twins will be 30 years old now!'

Michelle Wilson has worked as a nursery nurse at the Poole Maternity Unit in Dorset for three decades

Michelle Wilson in 1987
Michelle Wilson
Michelle Wilson in 1987

Michelle has spent her entire career at the same unit in Dorset where she has looked after two generations of children, some from the same family, in that time.

Here she is pictured with the first set of twins she looked after.

"These twins were born early and I think I looked after them for the entire 10 days they were on the unit.

"The parents named their daughter Nicola Michelle after me.

"I guess they'll be 30 years old now!"