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The betting's on Betsi

Betsan Powys | 11:55 UK time, Tuesday, 25 November 2008


It's the sort of story that you hope is true.

There's a rumour around that the Health Minister, Edwina Hart, wants to name the new North Wales Health Board after Betsi Cadwaladr, a contemporary of Florence Nightingale. Betsi, or Elizabeth Davies, was a Methodist preacher's daughter who grew up on a farm near Bala, before escaping through her bedroom window one night and heading off to Liverpool to look for adventure. She eventually went to London to train as a nurse.

Perhaps the Minister, whose plans to revamp the structure of the health service in Wales were recently said to have "more than a whiff of Stalinism" about them, should read this description of Betsi before making her recommendation:

"After reading about the plight of British soldiers in the Crimean War, who were dying of typhoid and wound infections, Betsy decided to join the military nursing service to take care of them. She worked alongside Florence Nightingale for a time, but did not like her imperious discipline.

Betsy moved to serve on the Balaclavan front, where she was famous for her disregard of red tape to ensure that supplies reached the wounded".


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