NHS70 quotes

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Dr Richard Sloan

“My father set up as a GP in Airedale, Castleford in about 1923 and a house was built for him by the local colliery where he was employed as its doctor. The 1920s and 30s were times of poverty and the great depression. He employed a collector to gather in his fees, although patients were often too poor to pay. His first home visits were made on a Douglas motor bike. He undertook minor surgery and had an ether anaesthetic device: this was done on Sunday mornings and Joan, the cleaner, tidied up afterwards. My father gave her a packet of cigarettes each week as well as her wages. Back then, some people couldn’t afford to visit the dentist or the vet so my father would even extract teeth and put dogs down too.”

To read the full version of Dr Richard Sloan’s blog post, click here.

Dr Richard Sloan, retired GP


Dr Brian Frost-Smith

“My wife was a doctor on Block Two at Walton Hospital (a former workhouse in Liverpool) when we were both junior doctors there in 1950. Block Two was composed entirely of patients with TB. We both left at the end of our jobs but two years later I returned after my spell in the RAF. As soon as I entered the hospital grounds I saw that Block Two was no longer there – it had been demolished as a result of new drugs in just two years!”

To read the full version of Dr Brian Frost-Smith’s blog post, click here.

Dr Brian Frost-Smith, retired GP


Dr James Kingsland

“We were responsible for 24/7 care 365 days a year. I’ve been on call on Xmas day and got up from lunch to do a house call. Our home phones would ring in the middle of the night (when on call) and often we could be driving to a patient’s house at 2, 3 or 4am… and then be in surgery at 8am. Wives/husbands would have to answer phones at home when we were out on call. The significant change to this only occurred in 2004, albeit by the mid 1990s we started to computerise, use mobile phones (the size of bricks on 1G and 2G) and sub-contract out of hours work to agencies/co-operatives.”

Dr James Kingsland, GP and President NAPC


“I love the story that one of our retired partners tells, about the system for ordering repeat prescriptions in the old days. There was a wooden box by the front door that patients popped their empty packets in and then someone took them in, looked at the labels and patient names and reissued! He recalls having to unroll old metal tubes of cream to see what was on them!”

Sarah Walker, Weston Grove Partnership PCH