NHS Forth Valley Celebrates 65th Anniversary

Staff from across NHS Forth Valley joined forces to pose for this photograph to wish many happy returns to the NHS for its 65th birthday.  Pictured in the atrium of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, they brought along some of the medical equipment in use today and celebrated with a piece of giant birthday cake, courtesy of the facilities company Serco.

Since the formation of the NHS on 5th July 1948, healthcare in Forth Valley has undergone a major sea change, shifting the balance of care from hospital to as close to home as possible. However, the area’s two district hospitals, which have now become community hospitals, were both leaders in their field in the years marking the start of the National Health Service.

Falkirk for example, was a trailblazer when the Infirmary was chosen by the Scottish Home and Health Department to pilot an alternative to the Nightingale wards with long rows of beds, a design which was deemed outdated and wasteful of staff and patient energy. The result was a new surgical block supported by four-bedded wards and single rooms, built around a central area where common facilities such as the nursing station were located. Thus was born the “Falkirk Ward” a model still in use today.

At Stirling Royal Infirmary a new £10,000 X- Ray department was built in late 1948, described as “the finest in the country.” An eye clinic was under construction and plans were announced for a new operating theatre, sterilising room and an extension to the maternity home. A Society of Friends of Stirling Royal Infirmary was also formed in the same year.

The intervening years saw the closure of the Royal Scottish National Hospital at Larbert for people with learning difficulties with patients moved into supported accommodation in the community. It is now the site of the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Small hospitals in Clackmannanshire have also been replaced with the Clackmannanshire Community Healthcare Centre in Sauchie which provides a wide range of outpatient services and houses several GP practices, a Mental Health Resource Centre and inpatient services for older people.

NHS Forth Valley Chief Executive Professor Fiona Mackenzie said: “The past 65 years have seen a complete transformation in the way healthcare is delivered across Forth Valley. Technology has moved on apace and there have been significant medical advances however the patient is still very much at the heart of everything we do.”

In addition to posing for commemorative pictures, staff also sang Happy Birthday. They can be seen in fine voice on the NHS Forth Valley YouTube Channel.