This site is intended for health professionals only

GP joins performers in Olympic ceremony

A GP involved in the Olympics opening ceremony has spoken of her pride in representing the NHS to rest of the world.

Dr Elizabeth Holder, a GP and A&E specialist in Watford, London, was one of the performers in the segment of the Olympics opening ceremony last Saturday where doctors, nurses and children performed a dance routine in tribute to the NHS.

She said preparing for the show was ‘demanding', but she was proud at representing its values in the ceremony.

She said: ‘The NHS is such a well-run organisation. There are always complaints about it and sometimes a lack of understanding about how much it does, but the show helped increase the pride. After all, many countries don't have free healthcare.

A lot of my family lives in the US and Trinidad. For them, it was such an amazing performance. People in the US never understood what we do in the UK. They have quite a hierarchical system in the US and my family said doctors there would not consider doing what we did, but we showed doctors are just ordinary people.'

The training sessions were ‘demanding', Dr Holder added: ‘It went from April and was around two sessions a week. I only missed two sessions, but I had to rearrange my work schedules.

‘I made a commitment to the show and I wanted to see it to the end. I had to beg colleagues to swap shifts, but they were understanding – without really knowing what I was up to.'

Director Danny Boyle's ceremony was one of the 10 most-viewed shows in television history.

Dr Holder also said Mr Boyle took great interest in the performers: ‘Danny Boyle was really hands on. He kept thanking us. He asked what I did as a job, I told him and he was amazed that I was still able to do this, to devote the time and continue caring for patients.'