Highland Doctor

Illustrating the work of the Highland and Islands Medical Service
(2 minute 10 second video clip)
© Scottish Screen Archive, National Library of Scotland
View the full video for Highland Doctor


“When the grant had been definitely approved, the first job was to attract new doctors to the area. One of the first uses of the grant was to bring each doctor’s income up to a level he could live on. In other words, he didn’t have to depend on the people being able to pay him, and the people in turn only had to pay a small fee when they needed a doctor, instead of enough to cover his expenses. So the doctor was consulted more frequently, people’s health improved and both doctors and patients benefitted. We were able to afford cars under the new arrangement. As the roads were improved we could get round to our patients more easily, now we could visit three patients in the time it used to take to see one. Then the nursing association got money from the grant to appoint more nurses. Well qualified ones.

After a while many of them were provided with cars too. We began to have better telephone and telegraph services. New houses were built for us and for the nurses. The better roads made it possible to use ambulances more widely. And our key hospitals were enlarged to receive the patients we were now able to send them. They were equipped with up-to-date apparatus for all modern treatments and resident specialists were appointed. Then at the beginning of the war the emergency medical service hospitals were organised to receive hospital casualties, they meant extra accommodation and they used some of their empty beds to take our patients off the waiting list. And that brings us right up to date.

Why man you’ve jumped a couple of centuries in a few years.

From horse and cart to air ambulances.
What would have happened if it hadn’t been backed by the state?

Aye, if anyone had told me thirty years ago that I would be telegraphing for specialists and for aeroplanes, well I would have warned him to keep away from the bottle.”