THIS week the Herald is paying tribute to just a few of the remarkable NHS staff who have made a contribution to Scotland's health service during the past 70 years. 

From porters to surgeons and midwives to catering staff, as the 70th anniversary of the NHS on July 5 approaches this is an opportunity to look back on the many treatments and technologies pioneered in Scotland and the people who have dedicated their careers to making Scotland better.

The Herald: Professor Charlie GourleyProfessor Charlie Gourley

HE is one of Scotland's leading experts in gynaecological cancers, but oncologist Professor Charlie Gourley says he only came into the field "by chance".

After studying medicine and genetics at Glasgow University in the early 1990s, at a time when the relationship between genes and cancer was becoming increasingly clear, Prof Gourley took up his first post as an NHS oncologist in Edinburgh.

He said: "There was a doctor here who was really interested in research and ovarian cancer and when they found out I had a genetics degree they sort of collared me and said 'why don't you come and do your PhD in the lab'.

"At the time we were interested in taking the fluid that often appears in ovarian cancer patients and extracting the cancer cells to use them as models that we could then interrogate in terms of developing new treatments.

"Because other cancers don't necessarily have that accessibility in terms of tissue, in those days it seemed like ovarian cancer was a good place to start in terms of research."

NHS at 70: Celebrating a revolution in Scotland's healthcare

Prof Gourley, 48, now leads a clinical research team at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Cancer Centre. He was pivotal in pushing for genetic sequencing in ovarian cancer patients after observing in clinical trials that women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations responded particularly well to an experimental new drug called Olaparib.

He said: "Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to get that agreed. That was largely due to the fact that the genetics department were very approachable about that sort of thing but it was really driven from the oncology side because we had seen the effect of these new drugs in our trial."

Prof Gourley was also the lead investigator in the Edinburgh arm of a global clinical trial for Avastin, a breakthrough ovarian cancer drug shown to starve tumours and prolong survival.

Both drugs are now available on the NHS.

He is currently leading a Scotland-wide project which he hopes will pave the way to more effective, genetically-tailored treatments for ovarian cancer patients.

"We're taking tumours from ovarian cancer patients around Scotland. We're doing whole genome sequencing in order to work out what it means to have particular molecular abnormalities.

"The BRCA1 and BRCA2 thing has been fairly well sorted out, but there are other molecular abnormalities and we don't know how that affects their response to standard chemotherapy and new treatments so by doing this sequencing we're hoping to work out what it means in terms of how they will survive, how they will respond to standard treatment in order to inform what new drugs we should be giving them. That work is ongoing."

The Herald: Dir Michael WoodruffDir Michael Woodruff

Sir Michael Woodruff, kidney transplant pioneer (3 April 1911 – 10 March 2001)

ALMOST 7000 kidney transplants have been carried out in the UK since 1960, in many cases freeing patients from the grind of dialysis and giving them back a quality of life.

While far from simple or routine, kidney transplants are no longer a rarity: in Scotland alone last year surgeons performed more than 160 of the operations.

In 1960, however, kidney transplant surgery in the UK was in its infancy. And it would be the pioneering vision and skill of a former prisoner of war that would create the foundations for thousands of successful operations to come.

Celebrating 70 NHS Heroes for 70 Years: "I think it was one of the greatest privileges in life"

Sir Michael Woodruff carried out the UK’s first successful organ transplant surgery at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on October 30, 1960.

Yet just 15 years earlier, he was languishing in the notorious prisoner of war camp at Changi in Singapore, captured by the Japanese while serving with the Australian Army Medical Corp.

London-born Woodruff spent four years in the camp where, confronted by awful conditions, he battled to reduce vitamin deficiency among the starving prisoners by devising a method of extracting nutrients from soya beans, rice and grass using old machinery found lying at the camp.

After the war he came to Britain to work initially at the University of Sheffield and then as senior lecturer in surgery at University of Aberdeen, before relocating to New Zealand.

His growing reputation as an expert in transplant immunology caught the attention of the University of Edinburgh which was developing its vision for a transplant service.

He took the role of its Chair of Surgical Science and consultant surgeon to the Royal Infirmary from 1957 until 1976.

In 1960 he realised that a patient with irreversible kidney failure had an identical twin brother - an advantage which would minimise the risk of a donor kidney being rejected.

Although challenging, the ground-breaking surgery was a success, and the twins returned to their normal lives within weeks. They lived for a further six years before both died from unrelated conditions.

Woodruff was also instrumental in improving post-surgery prospects for patients, and developed a drug that helped prevent the rejection of transplanted organs. Certain methods he devised for transplant surgery are still used today.

He retired in 1976. He died in Edinburgh aged 89 in 2001.

The Herald: Professor Ian ReidProfessor Ian Reid

Professor Ian Reid, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Royal Cornhill Hospital (died June 14)

Controversial and stigmatised, some might say it would take a courageous medic to embrace the idea of electric shock treatment for depressed patients.

Professor Ian Reid did just that, and working with his team at University of Aberdeen, uncovered how electroconvulsive therapy worked by resetting overactive areas of the brain, restoring it to its natural chemical balance.

The treatment, which involves placing electrodes on the temples and introducing a small electrical current which penetrates the brain, was first used by psychiatrists in the 1930s. However it was not until his Aberdeen team’s research in 2012 that it was established just how it worked.

The team established that ECT appears to turn down an overactive connection between areas of the brain that control mood, and the parts responsible for thinking and concentration. As well as solving a 70 year old riddle surrounding ECT, the findings paved the way for the development of less intrusive drug therapies which could replicate its impact.

70 Years of NHS Scotland: Looking after patients from cradle to the grave

Confirmation of the treatment’s positive impact flew in the face of its typically controversial image – something which Prof. Reid had strived to achieve during his career.

Born in Dunfermline, he was regarded as a brilliant student and entered the School of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Aberdeen aged just 16.

He opted to specialist in psychiatry, eventually taking the role of Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Dundee at the age of 34. There he drove through changes to the service, establishing community mental health teams and developing a state-of-the-art ECT service that provided training and research opportunities for junior psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses.

He returned to Aberdeen in 2003 as Chair of Mental Health, which he held until his death, at the age of 53, in June 2014.

He and his team - through collaboration with the neuroimaging team in Aberdeen - were discovering exciting new biomarkers for mood disorder and the mode of action of ECT at the time of his death.

The Herald: Elizabeth 'Lily' HendryElizabeth 'Lily' Hendry

AT an age when most people are enjoying retirement, 79-year-old Elizabeth Hendry remains a dedicated theatre nurse.

Mrs Hendry, known as Lily, was presented with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in December 2017 in recognition of her services to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.

The great grandmother jokes that she is "oldest scrubber" at the hospital in Clydebank, where she has been a theatre nurse for the past 15 years.

Speaking after collecting her award at the City Chambers, Mrs Hendry said: "I am very humbled that people would think I am deserving of such an award.

“I love being a nurse; nursing has really defined my life. I love it here at the Golden Jubilee, where it is like one big family."

Mrs Hendry, from Robroyston in Glasgow, started her career in 1967 as an auxiliary at Glasgow's Western Infirmary. She embarked on her career at the relatively late age of 28, after having her first child at 17.

She worked her way up to qualify as a ward nurse ten years later while juggling a busy home life with five children.

She went on to work in a number of Glasgow hospitals including the Royal Infirmary, Gartnavel and Scotland's first private hospital, the Bon Secures in Langside.

Mrs Hendry was forced to retire from the NHS at the age of 65 but the day after her birthday she was working at the Golden Jubilee hospital as an agency nurse.

In a previous interview with the Evening Times, Mrs Hendry said: "I just love my job and thankfully I am in good health. There is nothing I can't do. I enjoy the challenge. Seeing patients back in their beds after being in theatre and knowing you have done your best.

"Sometime a younger nurse will see me lifting someone and offer to help, but I don't need it. I can run rings round the younger ones.

"I think you should be allowed to keep working if you want to. I'd like to retire when I'm 90."

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital’s Nurse Director, Anne Marie Cavanagh said: "To be awarded a British Empire Medal is testament to her years of dedication and commitment to the nursing profession.

“We are very lucky that Lily hasn’t yet settled into retirement as she is an extremely hard-working member of the team whose years of experience are invaluable.”

The Herald: Dr Margo WhitefordDr Margo Whiteford

WHEN she was born with spina bifida in in 1950, doctors told her mother to go home, let nature take its course and "get on with trying for a normal baby".

Now 57, Dr Margo Whiteford is a consultant clinical geneticist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and chairwoman of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland.

The charity was founded by her parents, Mae and Ron, and provides critical services to patients and families from Shetland to the Borders, such as a national helpline, health check clinics, one-to-one support, social groups, advice and training - all supported by donations.

In 2009, Dr Whiteford was named the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year and in 2017 she was awarded a CBE for her services to charity and health. She is also a board member of the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and was elected president of the organisation in 2013.

NHS at 70: Celebrating a revolution in Scotland's healthcare

Speaking to the Evening Times in 2016, Dr Whiteford said doctors' communication skills had improved since her parents' experience in the 1950s, but added: “I still hear about mums who are given stories of no hope.

"I see it from both sides, but there has been a lot of training since then and you would sincerely hope that any message would not be delivered in the fashion it was delivered to my parents.”

By the time she was three, Dr Whiteford had had four major operations on her back and legs and has required a wheelchair most of her life.

Spina bifida is a fault in the spinal column where vertebrae do not form completely, causing problems with the nervous system and movement. Hydrocephalus, which often accompanies spina bifida but can also exist on its own, is a condition where increased pressure from fluid on the brain can cause social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural difficulties.

Despite the challenges, Dr Whiteford was determined to become a doctor and after completing a pharmacology degree at university, she trained as a paediatrician at the Royal Sick Children’s Hospital in Glasgow before later specialising in genetics.

She said: “I can offer a bit of hope to families – show them that spina bifida need not hold their child back from being what they want to be but at the same time, I have to be very careful about that,” she says. “There are varying degrees of spina bifida, and not every child will achieve what I have achieved.”

The Herald: Professor Debbie TolsonProfessor Debbie Tolson

IT is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS as the population ages, but Professor Debbie Tolson is at the frontline of dementia research.

She was an experienced nurse and professor of Gerontological Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University when she took up the post of Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Dementia Policy and Practice.

It came just weeks after she lost her own mother to the disease in 2012.

Speaking to the Herald in 2016, after her nomination for Scotswoman of the Year, Prof Tolson said: “It was only when my mother was diagnosed that I truly understood what it means to have dementia in your life.

“As a professional, I knew what I had to do. As a daughter, I had no idea. And that shocked me – I was as lost as anybody else and I hadn’t expected to feel like that.”

It was a nursing placement specialising in the care of older people shortly after she graduated that set the path for a career which has seen Prof Tolson recognised nationally and internationally, especially in the field of dementia studies.

“I haven’t looked back since,” she said. “I realised as soon as I started that placement that it was in this area, in care for older people, that I could make a difference. Because a nurse can make a difference, not just in the moment of care, but in changing the way we think about older people and people with dementia.”

Celebrating 70 NHS Heroes for 70 Years: "I think it was one of the greatest privileges in life"

She has produced more than 100 peer reviewed research papers, national care guidance for nurses and patients, and is currently leading a European-wide research project called Palliare examining advanced dementia.

The Herald: Jenny Preston Jenny Preston

Dr Jenny Preston, Consultant Occupational Therapist, NHS Ayrshire and Arran. 

Dr Jennny Preston has spent 30 years supporting people to recover from illness or injury and get back to living their lives. She says the work has been a "real honour".

She first joined NHS Ayrshire & Arran in 1990 for the opening of the Douglas Grant Rehabilitation Centre at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine. She has worked within the Neurological Rehabilitation Service since then and has held various roles including Head Occupational Therapist. She is currently Clinical Lead for Neurological Rehabilitation. 

In addition to delivering clinical care to people with neurological conditions, Dr Preston has published in peer review journals and is author and editor of the book 'Occupational Therapy and Neurological Conditions', published in 2016.

She was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to occupational therapy and neurological rehabilitation. 

Dr Preston said: “When I heard I was to be appointed a MBE, I was genuinely shocked. I am truly humbled to be put forward and to be recognised for my services to the Occupational Therapy Profession and Neurological Rehabilitation is a real honour.

"I would like to thank all the patients and families and my wonderful colleagues who have helped me achieve this.”

The Herald: Professor June AndrewsProfessor June Andrews

DESCRIBED as a "force of nature" with a "razor-sharp intellect", Professor June Andrews is one of Scotland's leading experts on dementia. 

A Scot who trained as a nurse in Nottingham, England she went on to receive the Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) - the highest honour awarded to nurses in the UK - in recognition of her exceptional contribution to healthcare.

She spent a decade directing Stirling University's Dementia Services Development Centre where she devised an online design guide on making care homes and hospitals "dementia-friendly" and raised professional awareness of the practical things you can do to make life better for people with dementia.

She said: "A dementia friendly society is one where people are aware of it and help their neighbours, but it also has to be one where the people who set themselves up to look after people with dementia really know what they’re doing and give confidence to the people who receive their services."

She now works independently to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Her work on dementia has taken her all over the world and she has received numerous accolades including the Robert Tiffany Award for excellence in nursing, the Founders’ Award of the British American Project for public service, the Chief Nursing Officers’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and an OBE in 2017. 

In 2013 she was listed in the Health Services Journal as one of the 50 most inspirational women in health care.

The Herald: Audrey CampbellAudrey Campbell

Audrey Campbell, Clinical Nurse Manager, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. 

IN a nursing career spanning 41 years, from the joy of childbirth to the stresses of oncology, Audrey Campbell has seen all life can throw at the profession. 

“There will always be patients that you remember,” she said. “I still think of some from 40 years ago, I might think how awful it was for them, or that it was so tragic. 
“It can be very hard.”

She has worked in midwifery and gynaecology, as a nurse manager in neuroscience and as a staff nurse in medical surgery and coronary care – just a few of many roles since her first days of training as a student nurse in 1976.

70 Years of NHS Scotland: Looking after patients from cradle to the grave

She is currently Clinical Nurse Manager at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre within the city’s Western General Hospital. 

She said: “These days I often hear the very sad stories, and maybe the odd complaint where people have not had what they see as a good experience and which can be down to the situation they are in. 

“You talk about it with your peers, they support you and then you try to learn from it. Every day is a school day.”

Her experience across such a wide variety of roles – from setting up a pre-admission clinic and working as a staff nurse in a triage role, to endoscopy nurse manager – led to her being seconded to a team tasked with helping to organise services for what was to be the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France.

Now her oncology role sees her dealing with patients with a range of cancer-related conditions and managing staff. 

“It can be a challenge, you’re looking at where to put patients at the same time as there are staff issues to deal with. But I still love it,” she said. 
“I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done. I’ve never worked in an area where I’ve not felt sad to leave. I’m passionate about patient care.”

The Herald: John KnoxJohn Knox

JOHN Knox joined the NHS as a management trainee in 1973, initially working at what was then the Western Regional Hospital Board.

He is now planning his retirement, having risen to the post of Lead General Manager in charges of the Acute Services Re-development Project, which oversaw the construction of a new hospital in Dumfries. 

He said: "I chose 'hospital administration' as a career, having been influenced by family friends from both the medical and NHS management professions of the potential future career prospects, working within a large complex caring organisation.

"I cannot believe how quickly the last 45 years have gone and that I am now planning for my retiral this year. 

"Since completion of the training programme in 1976, I have worked in a number of Health Boards areas - Greater Glasgow, Argyll and Clyde, Lanarkshire, and latterly Dumfries and Galloway (since 1987) where I have held a number of managerial posts, culminating in my current post of Lead General Manager.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my NHS career and feel privileged to have worked with so many hard-working and dedicated staff over this time.
To have ended my health service career as Lead General Manager for our New Hospital Project and Clinical Change Programme has been a fantastic, 'once in a lifetime' opportunity.

"Over the past five years I have worked with hundreds of staff from the Health Board, our clinical and clinical-support operational teams and contractors throughout the planning, design, construction, clinical change, commissioning and migration phases of our new hospital project.

It has been extremely rewarding to have been involved with one of the largest, most complex health projects ever delivered in Dumfries and Galloway."

The new £212m Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary opened to patients in December 2017. 

Mr Knox added: "I have enjoyed the last 45 years working in the NHS, both from a career perspective and on a personal level. The most rewarding part throughout has been given the opportunity to work alongside dedicated and professional staff and seeing the high quality care they deliver to our patients throughout every stage of their life."

The Herald: Drew McDonaldDrew McDonald

SHOCKED by data that revealed one in five children with severe sepsis admitted to paediatric intensive care die, senior nurse Drew McDonald embarked upon developing a sepsis recognition tool to ensure his department at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital did not contribute to this statistic. 

Mr McDonald, from Aberdeen, worked hard to trial and adapt the tool with advice from NHS Grampian advisors and senior doctors. His sepsis recognition process takes just 20 seconds to complete, can be used by nurses of any level. It comes with a consistent six-step treatment plan so nurses can confidently provide antibiotic and fluid dosages to prevent delays in treatment. 

The tool has successfully screened more than 5,000 patients to date at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and is yet to miss any conditions. 
The innovation has received local interest from Scottish hospitals as well as abroad, from Switzerland to Australia. Moreover, Mr McDonald's work contributes to reducing the serious financial impacts of advanced sepsis, which costs an average of £21,000 per case.

In recognition for his contribution to nursing, Mr McDonald was awarded the RCNi Child Health Award in 2017.

He said: “My goal as a nurse is to ensure that every child that attends our department is given the best care possible. We should treat the families as if they were our own, and I knew we were not good enough at dealing with sepsis.”

The Herald: James BoardmanJames Boardman

James Boardman, Scientific Director, the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory.
Jennifer Brown died in the arms of her parents; just ten days old and one of the 50,000 British babies who every year are born too soon. 
She might have been just another sad statistic.

However her parents were the then Chancellor Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, and her death touched people of all political allegiances.
Her loss sparked a vision for a new research unit that would bear her name and help scour for answers to some of the key problems faced by premature babies. 

The Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory, situated within the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, was opened in 2003, less than a year after her death.

Today Professor Boardman is at the helm, scientific director of the JBRL and principal investigator of the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort, a world-leading research study aiming to improve the lives of babies born early and their families.

Among their work is ground-breaking research into the brains of premature babies which it’s hoped will enable doctors to spot children who may face developmental problems as they grow up. It could mean that issues currently only spotted once a child reaches school age may be detected much earlier, enable support structures to be put in place. 

The team is also looking at the impact of maternal diabetes, foetal brain injury and development. NHS Lothian’s Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, where 7000 babies are born every year, is a key partner of the JBRL.

A key element of their work is the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort, a 25-year study to learn more about the how being born too soon or too small can affects later health. Researchers are monitoring the progress of 400 premature babies to adulthood, in a bid to find new ways to prevent and treat brain injury in premature babies. 

The team will track their health and development as they grow, monitoring their progress until the reach 25. 

The information will be used to help identify the causes and long-term consequences of brain injury at birth, and to identify risk and resilience factors for healthy brain development. It’s hope it could help with the development of new treatments to improve the health of premature babies.