Peoples Stories

As part of the NHS 70th celebrations in Scotland we have collected stories from staff and patients around the country. A selection of our Peoples Stories can be found below.

“In 1964 I returned to work as part of the first Marie Curie team in Aberdeen as a nurse on night duty for two years. This involved nursing terminally ill patients in their own homes and involved working closely with GPs and District Nurses.  We had our own equipment which we sterilised at home.”

Isobel Tough, 87, Brechin


“A lot of the patients in Ashludie were jute mill workers and there was a high proportion of young patients which was particularly distressing. Their recovery was largely dependent upon their own resilience, as there was no really effective treatment for them. I remember seeing one man with TB of the spine, who was lying flat on his back staring at the ceiling on the day I started the job - and he was still there in the same position when I left more than years later.”

Jean Sturrock, 96, Dundee


I recall that the arrival of incubators was one of the biggest improvements in neo-natal care. Prior to that, we had old-fashioned ways of administering oxygen to newborns, by making a box for the baby’s head to go into and then we fed the tubes from the oxygen cylinder into the box.  Staff had to ensure that the baby was also getting enough air too, as too high a percentage of oxygen could cause blindness.

Mums could only see the children through the windows, to prevent cross-infection,  which seems harsh but the nurses were specially trained to comfort children who were crying excessively,  as they recognised that this speeded up recovery times. 

Miss Gladys Walker, 93, Dundee


“I nursed children with polio but one of the main diseases that I treated was pyloric stenosis in babies.  This was a particularly distressing condition where a baby would projectile vomit after each feed and would lose weight very quickly. I recall shrivelled and withered babies being brought in.  A simple surgical procedure was developed to cure this and now the condition is uncommon. This has removed a potentially fatal condition from the list of infant illnesses.”

Rena Tracey, 89, Inverness


To our glorious NHS,

Happy Birthday! I literally owe you my life. Not only in the sense that your incredible staff saved me in an emergency situation, but also the beautiful life I've been lucky enough to build with my husband and children.

At the age of 16 I had an operation to remove a massive cyst on my ovary, which I subsequently lost, and then at 18 her ovarian sister grew a similar cyst but this time it was saved.

At the age of 27 when my husband and I began trying to start a family, it was obvious from my history that we would encounter fertility problems. After a year of trying we were referred to our local fertility clinic and started down the long and difficult path of treatment. Another 18 months followed, in which we tried various options. I received amazing care both physically and mentally, and one January morning a small plastic stick announced our prayers had been answered.

Although I had a textbook easy pregnancy, my little girl was a little more stubborn when it came to making her big appearance, so once again your amazing doctors, nurses and midwives did what they do every single day and performed a miracle by delivering her safely via C section.

I sit here typing this two weeks away from my little boy's due date, the current resident of my belly being a complete surprise, but no less of a blessing than his big sister. He will be arriving on a set day as I have opted for an elective C section, after more guidance from your midwives and nurses.

So as you can see, I owe you a lot more than my life in the traditional sense of keeping me alive. You have allowed my husband and I to live our dreams of a gorgeous family, of sunny picnics in the park, of Christmas mornings, first words, goodnight kisses, sandy chubby toddler toes, and more Peppa Pig than we care to mention or admit to.

Thank you,