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Answer to emergency.

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About this work


Unforeseen emergencies in the daily lives of a private secretary, a housewife and a transport driver make each of them acutely conscious of the need for first-aid training and simple nursing experience. These they acquire by joining the National Hospital Service Reserve as auxiliary members and completing the basic training, followed by several visits to a hospital. 4 segments.


UK : Ministry of Health, 1962.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (20 min.) : sound, color



Copyright note

Crown copyright, managed by BFI.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Produced by Central Office of Information for Ministry of Health. Made by Basic Films. Filmed by Larry Pizer, edited by Victor Procter, associate produced by Philip Aizlewood, produced by Leon Clore and written and directed by Fred Moore. Made with the cooperation of Southend-on-Sea Hospital Management Committee, St John Ambulance Brigade, British Red Cross Society and members of the National Hospital Service Reserve.


This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive


Segment 1 A man delivering leaflets steps off a pavement into the path of a car and is hit. Opening credits. A crowd gathers around him and wonders what to do. A young woman steps forward to help and the people ask if she is a nurse. In voiceover she says that she is not, but that she has useful training. In flashback, she is seen working as a private secretary and then getting ready for a party at home. She hears a scream; her younger sister has fallen off her bicycle and hit her head. In a panic, she rushes to the front garden and a neighbour who is trained in first aid helps them. At the hospital, she thinks about the confidence her neighbour showed and what would have happened to her sister if the neighbour had not been there. She looks at a recruitment poster for the National Hospital Reserve Service. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:05:10:10 Length: 00:05:10:10
Segment 2 The father of a family is leaving for his job as a transport driver. His family wave him off. At night, he comes across a car crash and as he smells spilt petrol, drags the unconscious female driver from the car, which then burst into flames. He then does not know what to do to help the woman but a patrol vehicle arrives to help. He is heard in voiceover saying he never wants to feel that helpless again. A housewife is then seen; her elderly mother is moving into her home. At this time, the mother is fit and healthy but she later has a stroke and becomes bedridden. The daughter is determined that she will not put her mother in a care home so signs up for National Hospital Service Reserve training to learn how to nurse her at home. Time start: 00:05:10:10 Time end: 00:11:05:23 Length: 00:06:05:13
Segment 3 The housewife explains that she has 12 months to learn the skills required to constantly nurse her mother, as that is when the doctor says she will begin to deteriorate. The young secretary has signed up to train with the St John Ambulance Brigade and a training course is seen. The students learn to apply bandages and have introductory visits to hospitals. She volunteers on a hospital ward for a while but then has to leave to plan her wedding. Time start: 00:11:05:23 Time end: 00:15:28:18 Length: 00:04:22:20
Segment 4 The driver also trains with the National Hospital Service Reserves but decides not to regularly volunteer at a hospital. However, a flu epidemic hits his area so he is called in to help at the local hospital. Once the crisis has passed he decides to volunteer once a week. He arrives for his shift at the hospital and banters with another nurse. The housewife also volunteers at a hospital after completing her training, saying she needs to learn as much as possible in order to look after her mother, and that she also enjoys the world of nursing and the new friends she has made. The nurses are all seen drinking tea together in the staff room. Time start: 00:15:28:18 Time end: 00:20:03:19 Length: 00:04:35:01



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