Clatterbridge nurse Kathy Shirley

Septuagenarians share their NHS stories

Three septuagenarians have been sharing their personal stories of the NHS with Radio Clatterbridge.

The trio, who were all born in the same year as the health service was formed, were talking as part of a special week of programmes to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

Clatterbridge Hospital nurse Kathy Shirley turned 70 in April, ahead of the NHS 70 celebrations.

The registered nurse on the pre-operative assessment unit is one of the longest-serving members of staff at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and has worked for the health service for more than fifty years in a variety of roles.

Known as grandma by her colleagues, she told Radio Clatterbridge she hopes the media would report the more positive aspects of the NHS.

“People tend to only hear about the bad things. I wish publicity would be given to good things as well as bad things.” – Kathy Shirley

Kathy said she has no intention of retiring just yet but would like to reduce her hours when she can afford to.

Meanwhile a volunteer at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has said she hopes the NHS will continue long beyond its 70th year.

Tricia Harrison, who is on the Patients’ Council, was born in January 1948 in a time when her mother had to pay 5s (five shillings) to book the midwife for the birth.

Tricia Harrison's mother's Date of Engagement Card from 1947
Tricia Harrison’s mother’s Date of Engagement Card from 1947

She grew up next to the Birkenhead children’s hospital where she was treated after breaking her leg at the age of four.

She gave birth to her daughters at Clatterbridge Hospital and later became a volunteer after the Royal Liverpool Hospital cared for her husband in his final days.

“They offer so much to us. I for one am very grateful for all the assistance I get from the GPs and the hospital.” – Tricia Harrison

Phil Price
Phil Price

Radio Clatterbridge presenter Phil Price was born when the NHS was in its own infancy.

He turns 70 in three months’ time – one of the baby boomer generation which exploded after the Second World War.

“There wasn’t a lot of money around so to have the health service there was a real plus. I got all the immunisations when I was born – all the things to start you on your health life journey.” – Phil Price

He recalled how his mother caught him drinking the free cod liver oil straight from the bottle!

Phil spoke about the compassion he received when both his mother and former wife died and says he feels very fortunate he was born in the same year that the health service was created.

The features will be followed on Thursday, the anniversary of the NHS, by interviews with some of the health park’s senior managers and we will be live at two Big7 Tea Parties.

Our sincere thanks to Kathy, Tricia and Phil for sharing their memories with our listeners.