Sexual Health Service
How the contraceptive pill forced the NHS, for the first time, to acknowledge all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.
In a series tracing decisive moments in the life of our National Health Service, medical historian Sally Sheard explores how the contraceptive pill forced the NHS to acknowledge all women's healthcare needs, sexual health included.
When the NHS began, sexual health was frowned upon. It was left to local authorities to deal with and many turned a blind eye. While family planning clinics existed, like those run by the charitable Family Planning Association, they were few and far between.
Dr Shirley Nathan, who was a young GP in the 1950s, and also worked for the Family Planning Association, recalls the dual revolution that the contraceptive pill brought about.
Not only did it promise freedom for women, it also set in motion a completely new way of thinking within the health service. All of a sudden, the NHS had to acknowledge all women's healthcare needs; sexual health included.
Producer: Beth Eastwood.