Fun facts 

52. Burying three quart jugs of a patient's urine was once regarded as a cure for kidney disease.

53. Most nurses in the 19th century workhouses collected their wages in beer.

54. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common source of staph infections. But the name, first coined in Aberdeen, means something quite different – a golden bunch of grapes.

55. The recommended cure for acute stomach ache in the 1700s was juice pressed from the dung of an ox.

56. George Orwell wrote his second draft of Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1948, the same year the NHS was born – while receiving treatment for TB in Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride.

57. Penicillin was so scarce at the outset of the NHS that it was recovered from the patient's urine to be used again. An acutely ill boy in Dumfries was saved by injections of the new drug and was supplied with ten large jars to be returned to Glasgow for removal of the drug.

58. Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet was treated as an ordinary patient at the Western General in Edinburgh in October 1996. His doctor was a personal friend of an Edinburgh consultant and was worried about a lung complaint on a visit to Britain. The General was registered under his first two names Augusto Ugarte, given some routine tests and sent to a chemist in Shandwick Place for a non-prescription medication.

59. In 1954 Richard Wilson started working in the health service as a lab technician in Stobhill Hospital mostly helping to diagnose TB before moving to the haematology department in Gateside Hospital, Greenock.

60. The NHS now spends around 25 times more money (£1.12 billion) on drugs than it did to run the entire health service in 1949 (£41.9 million).

61. The NHS is Scotland's largest employer with a virtually limitless list of occupations. In 1975 that included 55 cabinet makers, 6 farm managers, 2468 porters, 742 sewing maids and tailors, 466 gardeners and 82 hairdressers!

62. The Queen Mother was flown down by helicopter from her Caithness home at Castle of Mey to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after a fish bone was stuck in her throat. And the vital question for waiting media the following morning was – What did she have for breakfast?

63. James Robertson Justice, the Scottish actor who was the scourge of junior surgeons as Sir Lancelot Spratt in the Doctor films always did his homework. Through his friend, Bruce Dewar, he sat in on operating sessions at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary watching surgeon John Neilson and his team at work.

64. Bobby Moore, England's 1966 World Cup-winning captain, was treated at the Western General in Edinburgh for bowel cancer. Once a fortnight he would fly up for treatment in an ordinary ward. Taxi drivers, nurses, doctors and other patients recognised him and he happily signed autographs. But not one single person ever spilled the beans to the press. He died in 1993. Touched by this loyalty, his family gave the first cheque from the research fund set up in his memory to the Western General.

65. They say that laughter is the best medicine. First recorded NHSScotland joke: Two women met in the doctor's surgery. Said Mary: "Hello, Jeannie. I didna see you here last week. What was wrong? Were you no weel?" (Source: James Stirling Ross, The National Health Service in Great Britain, OUP 1952.)

 

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