The 5th of July 2023 marks 75 years of the National Health Service.
Since the NHS was founded in 1948 it has always innovated and adapted to meet the needs of each generation.
75 years on, we’ll be celebrating the organisation’s remarkable history here in Bolton and looking to the future as we continue to deliver the best care possible for all of our communities.
Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers, past and present, who have made the NHS what it is today.
Bolton has a rich history when it comes to providing healthcare to it’s communities. For many years two hospitals operated in the town, the District General Hospital and the Royal Infirmary, before they merged in the 1990s.
Since 1948, thousands of people have joined the NHS in Bolton to dedicate their lives to caring for others. Some of our longest-serving staff are sharing their memories and revealing what makes them proud to be part of such a special organisation.
Teresa Jowett, Deputy Head of Business Intelligence at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, joined the NHS in March 1986, spending a number of years at the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service, before re-joining Bolton on July 5 1993.
It’s exciting to be celebrating my own anniversary of 30 years working in the NHS in Bolton as the NHS itself celebrates 75 years. My first job in 1986 was as a receptionist on J Block, which back then was a day unit for dementia patients.
“It was around that time we started to use some of the first computers – although admittedly they were nothing like that what we use today. You received slightly more pay if you could use the computer and we had one machine to share with the whole team.
“We used to send case notes as lists through fax machines and we had a courier that did three runs a day between the District General and the Royal Infirmary. It’s fair to say technology has changed everything from how we use data to how we store it.
“I hope we’ve made a difference to patients. In my current role I work with data and I’m very passionate about it being correct first time. Data plays an important role in patient care and safety, so we are a vital resource.
I” love working at Bolton and I feel a strong sense of pride. My family are in the NHS, my husband recently retired from the ambulance service, my son worked on the bank in the Emergency Department, and my daughter works on the clerical bank and is a student nurse on placement here at the moment. It’s part of our family.”
“I never thought I’d still be here after more than 30 years, but here in Bolton there is something very unique.
50 years ago, on July 3 1973, Dr Emile Morgan took a flight from Cairo in Egypt to London Heathrow to start a new life in the UK working in the NHS.
Since then he has given his life to providing care to patients in sexual health, with a focus on supporting and caring for those diagnosed with HIV.
I landed in the UK on July 3, and straight away started working in the NHS, which falls very near to the NHS’ own anniversary.
“I have since spent 50 years serving the NHS, which I am very privileged to be doing. I had my first consultant post at Bradford Hospitals where I worked as a HIV consultant in GU medicine. The 20 years before that I worked in many different disciplines.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor so I am so blessed and privileged to do this job. In the early days of HIV, when the virus was first being discovered, there were tragically thousands of people dying around the world. In the past 30 years we have thankfully moved from it being a horrific disease to one that is far more manageable where we can offer treatment from day one. A lot of work has been done to make sure those with a HIV diagnosis can continue to live a happy life with a long future. Hopefully, perhaps not in my lifetime, it will be the case that HIV will be curable.
“There is so much brilliant work taking place within the NHS to treat diseases. We’re progressing with great research to make sure that life is better for our patients – which is ultimately our aim. The NHS is the envy of the world, and I hope it always continues to be. In my 50 years’ care has improved dramatically, and you can see that people are passionate and ambitious for that to continue. Everybody should be very proud of what the NHS has achieved.
“It’s really difficult to express how wonderful the feeling is when you have been able to care and support a patient. Regardless of the progress we have made, receiving a HIV diagnosis can still be shocking for many people. So to be able to contribute to changing that mind set, talking through what this means and explaining that today we can inhibit the virus so that it won’t cause major health issues, is a reward beyond belief.
“I love my job. Being that support for patients is the best part. When you get home and know that you have helped and made a difference. I have no doubt that anyone working in the NHS has that very same feeling.
Mary Howarth, Band 6 Team Leader on Ward E5, has spent nearly 50 years in the NHS having first joined the Bolton General Hospital in September 1974.
I can vividly remember my time at the Infirmary where I spent time working on Barnes Ward, which was male orthopaedics, and also in the A&E casualty unit.
“Casualty used to be one big room at the Royal where people called through to the triage room which had lots of cubicles coming off it and a long nurses station. What stands out for me is the advancement in medical care and treatment. Back then patients could be on traction for twelve weeks, whereas these days they’re off to theatre and in and out of hospital within a couple of weeks in some cases.
“I first started working in paediatrics in the late 1980s and it’s where I’ve predominantly stayed ever since. I feel a huge sense of pride for the area I work in, I quite enjoy the challenges and I feel as though I thrive on them. When you have a child that comes in very poorly it’s always so rewarding to see them go home after they received all the care they need.
“Gone are the days of having to wake toddlers at 6am. No toddler wanted to be woke for breakfast at that time. There’s been a huge shift in how we deliver care and our families are such a big part of it all which makes for a far more relaxed and supportive environment.
“The NHS holds a special place in my heart, it’s home. It’s great to see the new staff coming through the doors, they keep me on my toes, and I would like to think they saw something in me that inspires them.
Oriana Bowers joined the NHS in September 1981 after completing a two-year diploma course to be a medical secretary. Today, Oriana has taken flexible retirement and currently works as a Support Medical Secretary in women’s healthcare.
I was only 18 when I joined the NHS after coming out of college, and I was thrown into this completely new world – but a world I enjoyed so much.
“I worked for an orthopaedic surgeon and the job was very different back then. We used to go into clinic with the consultant and take short hand dictation and we would accompany them on the ward rounds to take brief annotations, which we then typed up into the notes.
“The job drastically changed after we were introduced to computers, and I think that also sparked a change in the workload meaning we would no longer be able to go into clinic as it was simply too time consuming. I joined Bolton in 1997, and I currently work as a support secretary which typically involves typing the clinical correspondence and carrying out any admin duties to support the team.
“I’ve always enjoyed the patient contact as you feel like you were achieving something, which is so rewarding. There is something about the NHS that has kept me here and I couldn’t ever see myself doing anything else.
“I’m so proud of my NHS career and I hope I’ve made a difference. People perhaps don’t always realise the admin and clerical work that takes place behind the scenes, but I think no matter what your role in the NHS it’s all important to keep the wheel turning.
Lydia Hill started working in the NHS in 1985 in community services as a nursery nurse, supporting children who had learning difficulties with a focus on developmental play and respite for parents.
My nursery nurse role was superb with great staff and it gave me the foundation for my working life with children. After two years I joined the team at the old Bolton Royal Infirmary as a nursery nurse on the orthopaedic/ENT ward. The staff became my extended family, consultants were treated with fondness but with immense respect.
“Children’s care was quite different. Back then parents rarely stayed with their child and the lengths of stay were longer too. My day was spent preparing children for surgery, telling them about Herbie the Hedgehog and his magic cream, then going to theatre with anxious children and ensuring all had fun.
“On one occasion I remember doing face painting with the team and children the day prior to my wedding and driving home with face paint still on due to excitement… no one had told me I had it on!
“When Bolton Royal closed I went on to do my Health Care Play specialist training at Bolton College. Working at the General was different and daunting, but I continued to make each child’s journey a positive one.
“Only recently a lady has said hello after 22 years. I looked after her twins in 2000, one sadly died after having intensive extra care and the other twin is now in the police service. She took the time to say hello as I was looking after her daughter. She remembered me as a nursery nurse looking after her twins.
“My role has changed so much as I’m now a Team Leader. Senior staff have always given me the opportunity to develop myself, grow and become part of the NHS vision.
“What a career I’ve had. The NHS has always carried me through life and being part of it makes me feel very fortunate and proud.