Witness Seminars and Podcasts
The Centre for History in Public Health has organised a number of 'witness seminars' including one on the Black Report of 1980, Jerry Morris 90th birthday conference and the London Smog of 1952. The full edited transcripts of these seminars are now available.
Recent Witness Seminar
The Resource Allocation Working Party and the NHS: Origins, Implementation and Development, 1974-1990
2.00-5.00 November 21st, 2013 Somerset House, London
The focus of this Witness Seminar will be the work of the Resource Allocation Working Party (RAWP). Appointed by the Labour government in 1975, the RAWP’s work led in 1976 to the introduction of a new formula for distributing funding in the British National Health Service (NHS). Henceforth it would be allocated according to measures of need, and not by the historical precedent which had hitherto favoured some regions more than others. Prior to the RAWP, the track record of Britain and of other Western nations in improving equality of access had not been impressive, despite decades of state intervention in health services. Aneurin Bevan’s initial vision had been that the NHS would ‘universalise the best’, but thus far the goal had remained elusive.
Behind RAWP’s dry title and acronym then, lies a story which speaks to some central issues in the history of the NHS. These range from the high idealism that has inspired the service, to the pragmatic and contentious political questions that attend reform efforts, to the technical but intellectually absorbing debates about how to achieve the fairest formula for redistribution. The RAWP also deserves historical attention because it stands as an example of successful policy-making in the NHS. Different views will be taken on how successful it was, and of course the postcode lottery debate is as live as ever. Yet the RAWP episode instilled in the NHS the enduring policy goal of ‘equality of access to health care for people in equal need’.
Historical understanding of the RAWP is therefore important both to our understanding of the NHS and to the broader study of health systems. The aim of the Witness Seminar is to examine this key episode, through the recollections of some of those involved at the time.
The seminar can accommodate a small invited audience, but numbers are strictly limited and by application only to Dr Martin Gorsky (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Virginia Preston (email@example.com). The meeting is jointly convened by the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute for Contemporary British History at King’s College London. It is initiated and organised by the LSHTM Centre, supported by a Wellcome Trust grant 'Witness Seminars in NHS History'.
Past Witness Seminars and Transcripts
Martin Gorsky and Virginia Preston ed. Tomlinson Report and After: Reshaping London's Health Services 1992-1997 (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Institute of Contemporary British History: 2013). Click on the link to read the full transcript which can be freely downloaded http://www.kcl.ac.uk/innovation/groups/ich/witness/science/Tomlinson.aspx
Nutrition and History in the Twentieth Century 15th September 2010. Click on the link in the title for the transcript.
Crowther, SM, Reynolds, LA and Tansey, EM (eds) The Medicalization of Cannabis Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, Vol. 40, (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, 2010) .
Martin Gorsky, The Griffiths NHS Management Inquiry, its origins, nature and impact. The transcript is now available online to read only. Please contact Ingrid James with your name and institution to receive a free printable PDF.
V Berridge, DA Christie and EM Tansey, Public health in the 1980s and 1990s: Decline and Rise? .Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, Vol. 26, (Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, 2006)
The Big Smoke: Fifty years after the 1952 London Smog - A commemorative conference. This two day conference was co-organised by Dr Tony Fletcher (Public and Environmental Health Research Unit and Professor Virginia Berridge (Centre for History in Public Health) of LSHTM and was held at the Brunei Gallery SOAS, 9-10th of November 2002. The witness seminar was held on day two of the conference and included personal recollections and analysis by those involved in the events, including, Professor Roy Parker, Sir Donald Acheson and Professor Richard Scorer. For full details of the conference and to read or purchase the transcript please follow the link in the title.
Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Public Health. This conference was organised by the History Group and the Health Promotion Research Unit to celebrate the 90th birthday of Professor Jerry Morris. It was held on Friday, 21st of July 2000, at the Manson Lecture Theatre, LSHTM. For Full details of the conference and to read or purchase the transcript please follow the link in the title.
The Black Report and The Health Divide This witness seminar, on the 1980 Report of the Working Group on Inequalities in Health (known as the Black Report after its chairman) was held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on 19th April 1999. To read the transcript please click on the link in the title.
Pioneers of Medicine? Take a walk around the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Ros Stanwell Smith invites you to walk around the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Keppel Street, in the part of London's West End known as Bloomsbury. She points out the names of famous heroes of public health inscribed on the School building, as well as discussing some who have different links with the School. History professor at the School, Virginia Berridge adds her thoughts about some of the significant personalities responsible for improving health for all in Britain and all around the world.
Derek Thorne and Peter Goodwin talk with:
Bayard Roberts, Siân Clarke, Sandy Cairncross, Claire Bertschinger
and Virginia Berridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Depression and post traumatic stress disorder in war-torn northern Uganda and the lessons to be drawn from a research project there; the unexpected additional value of using malaria drugs at regular intervals among school children in Kenya; the key role of sanitation in preventing infant deaths all over the world and what is being done to improve it; the life and work of the nurse who inspired Band Aid and Live Aid, as she receives an honorary doctorate; the "marketing" of health to the British public, as illustrated by the way attitudes to smoking have changed over the years.
Martin McKee and Virginia Berridge
In this programme, presented by Derek Thorne:
The Threat of Oral Tobacco
Martin McKee on the smoking ban and how the tobacco industry is looking to promote oral tobacco. Is it an effort to keep people addicted?
Health Politics Must Involve History
Virginia Berridge on how the past holds important lessons for public health in the present [see The Guardian, 20th June];
Alcohol Consumption in Russian Men
Martin McKee also discusses the new study on alcohol and mortality in working-age Russian men, and evidence that non-beverage alcohol is a major cause of early death [see The Lancet 2007; 369:2001-2009].
British National Health Service is 60!
Virginia Berridge, Nick Mays and Nick Black
July 5th, 2008 is the 60th birthday of the British National Health Service. Peter Goodwin talks to four experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to find out how it achieved the almost universal approval it enjoys in the UK, while asking what the future holds in store.