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16 October 2014
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Forum - health - Click here to return to the Forum menu page.
Before the NHS
There are 3 messages in this section.

Norna Clarke from Thurso, Caithness. Posted 12 Mar 2002.
There was no NHS when I was young and the doctors fees were high, so we were encouraged to eat healthy and work hard at keeping fit. We would always have lots of home made soups and fruit, and because we lived in Aberdeen, we ate lots of freshly caught fish, which was good for us. It was fairly common for older people to get TB, but one of my young friends from school died from it. If you caught it you ended up in the sanatorium for months on end. It was always hushed up in families, people would keep it very quiet if anyone in their house had TB. I was lucky I didn’t catch TB, but I did get very ill with Measles, it was an awful feeling and there was nothing I could do about it, but stay in bed and keep warm. The other common illness was whooping cough, which would last for weeks.
Alfie Smith. Posted 10 Apr 2002.
I can remember before the NHS my Mum was always worried about the Doctors bills, luckily we seemed to be a reasonably healthy family and they didn't come too often. But I do remember that some of my pals just had to suffer through an illness because their parents couldn't afford these horrendous bills. I hope it never comes back to that situation.

Alan Cameron from Lanarkshire. Posted 22 Apr 2002.
My mother was disabled with poliomyelitis also known as Infantile Paralysis (polio) as child in the 1920's. Doctors then had no idea how to treat this devastating yet fairly common and water borne disease. Doctors decided matters for her parents, and in a way that would horrify modern disability assessors, decided that Infantile Paralysis also affected the intelligence. My mother very quickly proved that theory wrong, and was sent from the "special" school to an ordinary school after a couple of weeks. That kind of thinking was obviously common to all classes of people, and within countries in Europe. I think many professional people were taken by the idea of eugenics which was emerging from Europe. Only now, with hindsight do I realise how many children around me, and who were part of the "Polio Fellowship" were my age, and were permanently paralysed to some greater or lesser degree. I was healthy and vital. My mother used to proudly display me at meetings of similarly disabled youngsters..and as she admitted years later, as living proof to all the disabled young women, not to listen to prejudice and bigotry. Should they have children, there would not be any hereditary consequences. In return, I learned more about how life from the angle of a child. I learned to swim, and that single act encouraged my mother into the water. She then campaigned mightily for disabled access for all the children, and got a dispensation for "the club" to meet every week at the swimming baths. Needless to say, my mother had me first in the queue when we got the "polio jag". Years later, that vaccine was given on a lump of sugar. The success of that programme can be seen in the disease being eradicated.

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