NHS celebrates becoming a pensioner

Staff in the Special Care Baby Unit in Ninewells Hospital in 1984.
Staff in the Special Care Baby Unit in Ninewells Hospital in 1984.

The National Health Service was 65 on Friday and, to celebrate becoming a pensioner, NHS Tayside took a look back at some of its ‘firsts’.

One of the first orthopaedic surgeons in Scotland was Professor Iain Smillie who was appointed surgeon in charge of the orthopaedic service for Eastern Scotland when the NHS was formed in 1948.

Initially based at Bridge of Earn Hospital in Perth, Professor Smillie also established orthopaedic clinics in Dundee and become the first holder of the Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of St Andrews.

The IVF Unit in Ninewells was set up in 1983 by Dr John Mills and Dr Geoff James and resulted in the birth of the first IVF baby in Scotland in September 1984. Ninewells was also the first unit in Scotland to offer NHS-funded IVF treatment.

Other firsts for the unit include the first baby born following treatment using donated embryos in 1989, the first baby born following treatment using frozen embryos in 1994 and the first baby born following intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri performed Britain’s first every keyhole surgery operation when he removed a 59-year-old Dundee housewife’s gallbladder at Ninewells Hospital. The woman, who would have normally had to have had months off work, was fit for normal activity after a few days and the procedure made medical history.

Ninewells continues to be a leader in keyhole surgery. In 2012, consultant urological surgeon Mr Ghulam Nabi carried out the first single port keyhole surgery in Scotland for conditions that can potentially lead to cancer.

In November 2006 NHS Tayside became the first Health Board in the country to outlaw smoking in all of its grounds as well as buildings.

NHS Tayside Chairman Sandy Watson said: “The 65th anniversary of the National Health Service is a time for looking back but also for turning our attention to the future. The NHS in Tayside has much to be proud of in terms of our innovations, achievements and patient-centred services in an ever-growing number of fields and all these successes could not be achieved without the dedication and hard work of our most precious asset – our staff.

“Our task now is to build upon this very strong position and make NHS Tayside synonymous with all that is best in the health service in Scotland and further afield.”