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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 18:45 GMT
Your NHS: For Better or Worse
By Nicky Campbell
Co-presenter of Your NHS: For Better or Worse

Nicky Campbell
Nicky Campbell: Your NHS in 2002 was "a political hot potato"
Was it really two years ago when we all got involved in Your NHS, the first BBC-wide event day?

Think back to the time.

We were just getting over a winter of 'flu crises, bed blocking and old people being left on trolleys waiting for a bed.

It was a critical time for the NHS and extremely timely for BBC One to have decided to give up a whole evening of its airtime to examining our health service.

And it was a new proposition for us too.

With a great deal of forbearance and assistance from the staff and patients at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, we mounted a day long Outside Broadcast event, feeding into news programmes on television and radio throughout the day and culminating in an evening of live coverage.

Peter Snow, Fiona Bruce and I were all there struggling with frantic producers, lack of scripts and mobile phones not working, while the hospital tried to carry on with business as usual. It was all a bit chaotic but it came together in the end. Just.

Pledges

Tony Blair on Your NHS in 2002
If we want sustained investment in the health service we will have to pay for it
Tony Blair, in 2002

The Department of Health was rather nervous about what we were doing at first, as it was so unprecedented and such a political hot potato.

They did their bit though. We filmed in hospitals, with GPs and patients up and down the country.

And, after a fair bit of negotiation, Tony Blair agreed to come on the programme.

I offered him a giant pledge card we had created - listing the top five priorities our viewers had for the NHS.

He reckoned he could smell a stunt and rather batted it away.

We were a bit surprised. We thought it was a presentational technique he would understand.

He took the questions head on though. And, memorably, he announced extra money for the NHS.

Later that year in the Comprehensive Spending Review, billions more were given to the NHS.

But is it enough? And is money the answer?

Getting answers

NHS PRIORITIES VOTED FOR IN 2002
Fiona Bruce and Nicky Campbell present Your NHS
Free long-term care for the elderly: 73,402 votes
More pay for NHS staff: 28,434 votes
Reduce waits for heart and cancer treatment: 17,292 votes
Improved A&E: 15,639 votes
Cleaner hospitals: 11,064 votes
Two years on, we look at what has been done with that extra funding.

We discuss what has been achieved - and there has been some progress in some areas.

We also discuss where there is still room for improvement.

But, most importantly, again we hear people's stories of the health service.

I shall never forget some of the tales we heard in 2002 from people who worked in the NHS: their passion, their commitment and their sheer hard work.

We hear from some of them again, and from their patients, to see how their lives have changed, for better or worse.


Your NHS: For Better or Worse is the flagship programme in the BBC's Your NHS event day, presented by Nicky Campbell and Fiona Bruce.

It was broadcast on Wednesday, 24 March 2004, at 21:00 GMT on BBC One. You can watch it again on the website.




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