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[Circulation by Sheila Gatiss]


Least they forget: oral history
Fifty years since Platt: let's celebrate
20 June 2009, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge CBS OBU

February 1959 saw the publication of the Government's report "Welfare of Children in Hospital". Following the Second World War, when researchers were looking at the effect of separation generally of young children from their parents, parents too were concerned that they were not allowed to be with their sick children admitted to hospital.

At this time I was a paediatric nurse at Guy's Hospital, London and then in the 1960s I became a mother in touch with other young mums, some of whom had had a lot of experience of hospitals. I, with others, supported one mum while she did a "sit-in", and then we became a branch of the new organisation known as Mothercare for Children in Hospital. In recent years I've been working with an archivist as a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for the History and Work of Therapeutic Environments. I have come to appreciate the value of oral history.

All these things have come together in my mind and made me think that we have a lot of stories to tell which could inform policy and practice of the future. Plus the realisation that we have made a little difference to the quality of the hospital experience for families.

So, I propose a get together at Lucy Cavendish College, here in Cambridge, where we can share our memories and have a lovely lunch. Additionally, we shall have the facility for recording these memories, and I do hope you will come.