Your memories of the NHS in Southampton over the past 70 years | News

  1. Contrast:

Social media icons

 Follow us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  

Your memories of the NHS in Southampton over the past 70 years

A still life photo saying 'Happy Birthday NHS!' with medicine, a stethoscope, thermometer, pen, clipboard and birthday present

2018 marks 70 years of the NHS. To help us celebrate the NHS in Southampton, we have been gathering local stories and memories. 

Thank you to everyone who has shared a story so far, we have loved hearing how the NHS has supported you and your family over the years. Below is a selection of the great memories we have received so far.

We will be continuing to gather Southampton stories throughout the year to mark 70 years of the NHS, so if you have something to share we would love to hear from you. 

To share your story you can:

  • email us on
  • phone us on 023 8029 6038
  • or write to The Communications Team, NHS Southampton City CCG, NHS Commissioning HQ, Oakley Road, Millbrook, Southampton SO16 4GX.

Please note that your story may be used as a quote on public materials that we may produce during the year, this could include printed and online materials. If you would like to find out more please contact us using the above details.

Thanks for your support, we look forward to hearing from you.


“It was the 23rd of December and I’d been in labour for almost 24 hours. When we left home and arrived at the deserted labour ward in Princess Anne, a student midwife called Corinne introduced herself. She examined me thoroughly, made me tea and toast, got me Gaviscon and spent the early hours of the morning checking my baby’s heartbeat every 15 minutes without fail while I tried to sleep.

She was calm and patient and told me how well I was doing and how great my deep breathing was through my contractions. Much later I was moved out of Corinne’s care and onto another ward. Lots of other midwives helped me that day, and finally a surgical team hauled my baby into the world when it became clear he needed some help to arrive. I am grateful to them all. But it is Corinnne who sticks in my mind, Corinne who came to find me after her shift ended and told me I was not a failure when I broke down and asked for an epidural after over 36 hours of labour without pain relief. I don’t remember if I thanked her, so today I’m saying #ThankyouMidwife and wondering if she’s now a fully fledged midwife teasing some other tiny troublemaker into being.

I sincerely hope so.”


“My name is Kamla Kumar.  My parents were originally from India but Trinidad became their home and this was where I was born.

In 1964, when I was 20 yrs. old, I arrived in Southampton docks on the SS Monserrat.  The journey from Trinidad took 21 days.  I had written in advance to Southampton NHS to tell them I had done first aid courses with the British Red Cross and that I wanted to train as a nurse in England. 

When I arrived in Southampton I phoned the number I had for the Matron, who was a very kind and helpful lady, and she told me to get a taxi to Moorgreen Hospital.  This is where my training began.  In those days, people were given 3 – 6 months work training in different clinics and hospitals around the city so that they would have experience in a variety of health care settings before they started their full time nurse training.

After 2 years of doing this I began my training and eventually I became a fully qualified SRN.  I worked for several years at the Royal South Hants Hospital then I chose to become a Community Nurse, working mainly night shifts.   I drove around Southampton, Botley and Totton looking after patients in their homes. 

Although I missed home in the early days, I was very happy nursing in Southampton and I met my husband here, (who settled over here from Fiji), in this city and I still live in the same house where we began our married life.”


“Our memories are very recent but for the last 7 years our family has been supported by the local NHS in Southampton. 

Our son has been in and out of hospital since he was 4 months and eventually diagnosed with Asthma.

We see the same consultant at every check up, Coast team, children's asthma nurse in the community and of course our GP.

During this time we have had many paramedics to our door and everyone has been caring and helpful.

Our most recent ambulance was last week and they were amazing.

Love the NHS.” Bethan Murphy 


“I was injured in an air raid when I was a child and it was hard for my mother and father to afford medical care because there was no NHS then. Since the NHS began, I’ve had my appendix out, a C-Section, a perforated bowel repaired, a hysterectomy and a new knee and members of my family have had treatment for cancer. I wouldn’t be sitting here now, nor them, if there was no NHS.

But I can’t get an appointment with a GP – and the new Hub appointments are a good idea.”


“My name is Margaret Sibthorpe and I am from Zimbabwe.  My mother was black and my father was white Irish.  The politics and the regime made life very hard in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and I tried for 12 years to get away from there in order to come and live in the UK.  Eventually, in 1997, on the strength of my Irish grandfather’s birth certificate, succeeded in being able to stay in Southampton.  By this time I was 60 years old and the day after I arrived, I got a job in a factory.  I retired at 65. 

It is good to have the NHS but nowadays I find it very stressful to cope with GP appointments;  you have to wait some weeks to get one and then when you arrive for the appointment, you know you have a very short time to see the GP in.  This makes me feel anxious so I recently decided the way to overcome this is ‘self care’.  Now, I check on the internet and on Youtube for information on minor illnesses and then I go and see my pharmacist who is very helpful.”

Thank you to everyone at Southampton General Hospital

“After the hip replacement my husband received what I can only describe as exceptional care, the staff were supportive, empathetic and caring to the enth degree. The whole team at this hospital from Chief exec to cleaners need to be recognised for the way they work collectively for a very positive outcome. This experience has been life changing (not an exaggeration), for the first time in many years my husband is mobile, pain free, off all medication and walking without use of any aid. Sorry to sound so 'gushing' but I find it hard to express our gratitude to all concerned. Thank you”


“I go to the RSH hospital to the In Health hearing people. My grandson helps me to arrange patient transport for the appointments. I can hear thanks to In Health’s help.”


“I have had lots of tests and referrals made by GPs over the years. Each one has helped me to move on and get better. Wonderful NHS. We wouldn’t live as long and as well as we do without it!”


“My name is Roda Nyathi and I fled from Matebeleland in Zimbabwe in 2001.  I arrived in Southampton as an Asylum seeker.  There were many people like me arriving at the same time and unfortunately we could not work until we got indefinite leave to remain, and by the time I got this, I was too old to work!.  It took a while but eventually I became a British citizen and I own a British passport. 

The NHS is good.  They do their best.  There was no service like this where I came from.  Every so often I go for appointments for my hip and for my heart, but otherwise I am healthy and I don’t need to use the NHS a lot.”


“I live in Chapel and I am a patient at St. Mary’s surgery and with College Keep.

They are really good to me.

I attend the Thursday drop in group at St. James Church.  I like the people there and I can get help and also NHS information.” Mary.


Department Cardiovascular and Thoracic cardiology division D
“In Southampton we are very lucky to have such a wonderful cardiology department. What I liked about this department was that my care was personalised and I was involved in planning my care.

The consultant Dr. J Paisey called me from the waiting area by my name and then shook my hand. This made me feel at ease and my nerves dropped from 100% to 20%. This just goes to demonstrate that simple things matter to the patient.

Thank you Dr. Paisey” Anne Cato

Mr Cahill

“The treatment for my prostate and bladder cancer has been excellent and aftercare has been brilliant.”


Bitterne Park Surgery
“GP very approachable and good with my child. I felt she gave sensible advice and appropriate follow up care.”

I love my work – I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else

“I’ve worked for the NHS as a house keeper all my life – first at Moorgreen and now the NHS. I love my work – I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”


“Towards the end of 2014, I was made redundant.  It was a shock and at that stage of my life, I was very worried that I wouldn't be able to get another job.  I tried hard to find work but kept getting turned down and I became very depressed.  Eventually I was referred on to a psychiatrist; those months were a low time in my life. 

Time went on, and as part of the rehab therapy available, it was suggested I might like to volunteer one of two days a week at a charity shop, and was introduced me the Sue Ryder charity.  To begin with I stayed back in the store room area; I felt too embarrassed and anxious to be seen in the shop itself.  After a few months, they persuaded me to come and help out on the till and I slowly realised I was coping. I began to enjoy feeling like I had some responsibility again and that I was socialising again. 

I increased my volunteering hours at the shop and the charity enabled me to take up an NVQ course.  The skills I gained from the course and my personal experience of living with and overcoming depression were hugely beneficial and within a year I became the Volunteer manager at the shop.  

Around this time, I met Anne Cato who had long recognised the needs of adults experiencing mental health issues and needing and support.  She was working hard to get a group off the ground in the St. Denys area, so  I joined Anne's team of volunteers and, three years on, we have a thriving weekly group with about 30 regular attendees.  

The group offers a chance to socialise, have  lunch, take part in activities, do Tai Chi and get help with every day needs - its a life line to many of its members.  People come to us with a wide variety of needs and it takes time to gain their trust.  It is rewarding to see them gradually gain confidence and start to chat with others and feel like they are part of society again.  Jill from the CCG visits us and her guidance has been really valued. Her contributions have been helpful and we have made appropriate changes which have helped us a lot. 

I can really identify with the loneliness felt by people experiencing mental health difficulties;  it can be so easy to feel you are avoided by others, that you can't cope and that you have no value in society; the St. Denys Activity Group helps get people back on their feet and gives them hope.

I am thrilled to be able to say that I have just managed to secure employment with Southern Health as a Support Worker to clients at College Keep.  I am really looking forward to starting this job in July and helping others.  If you had told me back in those early days of my journey that one day I would be working in this field, I might never have believed you!  I have been helped by the NHS and now I will be working for them.

We need to be open to the paths our lives take, to look beyond some of the barriers people put up to shield themselves from rejection, and to see one another with compassion and understanding.”

Physio self-referral service

“Physio self referral service was excellent. Easy form online, very friendly staff and easy exercises to follow.”

Hub appointments sound good

“We come from India. My wife and I work at the university but we have found it hard to understand where to go when the Dr’s surgery is closed. We are happy with our GP and we think Hub appointments sound good.”

Ms Gorton

“Had recent endoscopy (at the NHS Treatment Centre). Very frightened and staff very reassuring. The sedative was fantastic and I would not be afraid to have the procedure again.”


“In 2000 I had a massive stroke and was in the Southampton General Hospital (SGH). My care on the ward was good, but it wasn’t for the lady in the bed next to me. I felt terribly sorry for, but I think SGH has improved over the years. All my Rehab was dealt with at Victoria House. They were fantastic . They taught me to speak again. When you have a stroke it truly helps to keep a positive attitude: “I will get better”, and to keep doing the exercises they give you.”


“I had Polio at 2 years old (1954). I had extensive surgery (orthopaedic) in the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital (Alton) – sadly no longer – from the age of 2yrs old. Most of my childhood was spent in or visiting hospitals - the Royal South Hants for physio. This is just a short resume of my experiences.”


“A recent research programme featured on TV showed the major difference between length of life between males of the north and males of the south of this country – around 2000 men in the north die prematurely. A psychiatrist said there had to be major socio-economic reforms. In 1948, Dr Sakoschantz from Sholing was promoting the same, as a responsibly managed NHS should be for humanity. He was an excellent Dr.”