Voices from the NHS Retirement Fellowship
The NHS Retirement Fellowship is a national membership organisation, with local branches, which provide friendship, fellowship and fun to retired NHS and social care staff and their friends and families.
Since 2017 NHS at 70 have been recording NHS stories across the UK for the first shared public archive of NHS history. We have worked closely with some local branches of the Retirement Fellowship to give members a chance for their story to be included.
In 2018, when the NHS marked its 70th anniversary, the NHS Retirement Fellowship also celebrated its 40th anniversary and explored its own history and heritage.
We are delighted to feature here a selection of excerpts from interviewees for NHS at 70, who are also members of the NHS Retirement Fellowship.
Listen to Ethel talk about the ‘old remedies’ in the village and how there was always somebody that ‘could do’. She recalls too her paternal aunt Lavinia, who ran a GP surgery out of the kitchen in her two-story home.
Listen to Ethel, a life patron of the NHS Retirement Fellowship, talk about how she got involved with the NHS Retirement Fellowship.
Listen to Gwen talk about the opportunity to train as a health visitor, negotiating with matron to leave her midwifery training part way through, and taking a career break for children.
Listen to Hylda talk about her husband Victor’s lung transplant and describe writing “the most difficult letter ever” to the donor’s family.
Listen to Bob speak about being seconded to North Staffs and Mid Staffs Health Authority for six months to “innovate” and bring back NHS reforms. His reforms include bringing back minor surgery to GPs, setting immunisation targets and working in health promotion.
Here Eulon talks about living in the nurses’ home, where Gwen Crossley also stayed, and the significant role of the sister in their lives.
Listen to Ruth reflect on her mining community’s frequent exposure to death of mature adults, as well as the death of children, with girls often carrying the coffins to the burial site.
Listen as Sylvia remembers her father being diagnosed with scarlet fever and recalls the experience of seeing him in Blackpool’s isolation hospital, where she visited him.
Here John speaks about the separate areas of the canteen where NHS workers took their lunch, reflecting on the “unofficial differentiation” of hospital staff.
Listen to Cynthia discuss the experience of her medical training as a woman in the late 1950s and early 1960s.