NHSScotland Act comes in

The original structure of the NHS proves too unwieldy and cumbersome, given the growth in services, treatment and demand.

Provisions in the Act are finally introduced in 1974. The new health boards take over many of the health responsibilities of local authorities and the post of Medical Officer of Health is abolished.

In comes the Common Services Agency (now NHS National Services Scotland) to take on key central functions and new Local Health Councils to represent patients.

Apoptosis discovered

Apoptosis discoveredFinding out how and why cells die is a key puzzle for cancer researchers over many decades.

Professor of pathology at Aberdeen University, Sir Alastair Currie meets John Kerr in Brisbane and invites him to Scotland to work with PhD student Andrew Wyllie.

Aberdeen Typhoid Outbreak

Aberdeen Typhoid OutbreakIt all comes out of a single large can of Argentinean corned beef. Over the next four months more than 500 people are hospitalised.

Ian MacQueen, the Medical Officer of Health, who originally planned on a career in journalism, holds twice-daily news conferences to meet the interest of the media and the public.

World's First Chair in General Practice

World's First Chair in General PracticeFamily doctors bear the brunt of the huge increased demand with the NHS.

Some go out to meet the new challenge head on. On July 5 1948, Dr Richard Scott, with a nurse, medical assistant, medical social worker and a dentist set up a general medical practice to serve the local community and meet research and teaching needs of Edinburgh University.

Thalidomide dangers revealed

Around 10,000 babies are born around the world with deformities. Edinburgh GP Ekke Kuenssberg and two colleagues are among the first to realise the danger in 1961.

The Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh became a leading world centre in helping the survivor children – providing artificially-powered limbs they can control themselves.

Its director is David Simpson and his work lays the foundation for the world’s first bionic arm forty years later.

UK's first successful kidney transplant

UK's first successful kidney transplantThe patient and his twin are soon able to go back to work. They both live for a further six years.

A further 35 transplants are carried out over the next eight years at the Royal Infirmary. New anti-rejection drugs help survival – some patients on the point of death living full lives for 30 years and more.

In 1968 a new unit opens at the Western General in Edinburgh – the world’s first custom-built transplantation centre.

Interferon discovered

Interferon discoveredGlasgow-born and Glasgow University medical graduate, Alick Isaacs works in London for the World Influenza Centre at the National Institute for Medical Research.

He and a visiting Swiss colleague, Jean Lindenmann are both interested in how cells seem to be able to fight off viruses on their own.

“In search of an interferon” Isaacs writes in his diary, first coining the term.

First nursing studies unit is set up

First nursing studies unit is set upThe Caring Profession: Scottish Screen Archive video clip of a young nurse describing the value of her training in helping to save a young boy’s life.

Ultrasound established

A paper in The Lancet of June 7 1958 by Professor Ian Donald, Tom Brown and John MacVicar triggers the biggest revolution in diagnosis since X-rays.

Unlike X-rays, the Glasgow ultrasound machine carries no radiation risk and, unlike other experimental ultrasound models, does not involve the patient getting into a bath. The bright idea from Professor Donald is supported by Tom Brown, a young engineer with Kelvin Hughes.

The Glasgow model proves safe, simple to use and cheap enough to be affordable by hospitals in the developing world.

Smoking kills - dangers revealed

Track Four
Dr David Player
Signing first Scottish non-smoking teams

Doll and Bradford Hill establish this connection in 1950. Further research leads to the UK Health Minister Iain Macleod publicly accepting the link at a press conference in February 1954.

Around 80 per cent of the adult population are smokers at this time.


Healthier Scotland