UK Parliament to be illuminated in blue as it celebrates NHS 70th Birthday

05 July 2018

As the NHS turns 70, the UK Parliament has released a hard-hitting film where women reveal how the 1948 National Health Service Act and the 1967 Abortion Act have changed their lives.

In line with other buildings, the Palace will also be illuminated in blue tonight  to mark the NHS 70th Birthday. Only the river frontage of the Palace will be illuminated.

The National Health Service Act came into effect on 5 July 1948 and provided for the establishment of a comprehensive health service for England and Wales. 

In the final instalment of Your Story, Our History film series, which explores how the UK Parliament’s legislation changes lives, Therese Ramstedt, 27, and Courtenay Johnson, 25, discuss the impact this act, as well as the 1967 Abortion Act, have had on women in Britain.

Courtenay, a theatre producer, from London, said: “The NHS Act and what it stands for was absolutely essential to allowing me to even consider keeping the baby…It doesn’t matter what you choose but it’s so important that we have that choice.”    

Therese, a writer, performer and singer, from London, said: “When I found out I was pregnant I think the immediate feeling was panic and anxiety. In both our stories it goes to show that the NHS Act 1946 and the Abortion Act 1967 help us to make a choice and an informed choice.”

The films were created to mark 100 years since some women gained the right to vote, parliament to highlight how four key acts changed the lives of women.

Four women agreed to speak directly to camera in highly personal interviews about the impact the National Health Service Act (1946), Abortion Act (1967) the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003), and Representation of the People Act (1918, respectively, had made to them.

David Clark, UK Parliament Head of Education and Engagement, said: "The Your Story, Our History films show how the legislation that Parliament has passed over the last 50 years has affected people’s lives and shaped the UK.
“On the birthday of the NHS, it is important to recognise just how important this act has been to our nation, and in the year we celebrate Vote 100, how vital this legislation has been for women.”

The series also explores the Representation of the People Act 1918. Tobi Oredein, 28, a journalist from London, who shared her first voting experience and looks at the impact of women’s franchise on women from all walks of life.
 
Tobi said: "I think the Representation of the People Act in 1918 was key to women’s empowerment because it was a step to being a little bit more equal, a little more visible… it was a step, a stepping stone in women’s rights.”

The #YourStoryOurHistory videos were commissioned by Parliament’s Education and Engagement Service as part of their ongoing programme of public engagement, which aims to demonstrate how Parliament affects people’s day to day lives, engage people the institution has not yet reached, and diversify the range of people who are involved with the work of Parliament.

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