NHSScotland 60th Anniversary Sources

There are many websites, books and other printed sources which give information on the history of NHSScotland.

To help you find out more, we’ve pulled them together in this section. If there are any sources you think should be added please send them to [email protected]



Scotland & Medicine: Collections and Connections

Discover the many amazing contributions that Scotland has made to the world of medicine. Has web links to the major archives and other resources, both locally and nationally.

Lothian Archives

Glasgow Archives

Dundee Archives

Clinical Biochemistry in Scotland

Remarkably comprehensive online history resource courtesy of Elliott Simpson, Clinical Biochemist.

The Royal College of Nursing’s UK archive

Based in Edinburgh, the most important collections dedicated to the history of the nursing profession in the UK.

Medical Social Workers

A study of the development of medical social workers in Scotland in the early NHS.

NHS Choices

Holds a range of useful historical features about the NHS.

The History and Development of the British NHS

Geoffrey Rivett's comprehensive and updated online history of the NHS.

Wellcome Witness Seminars

History of major developments – in the words of those who shaped them

Film and photographic sites

Scotland on Film

Experience 20th Century Scottish life in sound and vision with clips from Scotland's historic film, television and radio archives.

Scottish Screen Archive

Get a real flavour of times past with Scotland's national moving images collection. It preserves over 100 years of Scottish history on film and video. Many clip extracts can be viewed online.


A charitable online learning resource base with over 360,000 images and multimedia files from museums, galleries, archives and the media.

STV special five-part series by Kelly-Ann Bishop marking the 60th anniversary in Scotland

Lothian 1948 archive photographs


Your Health Service: how it will work in Scotland

Courtesy of Lothian Health Services Archive

Your new Health Service (pdf)

An open letter to every Scottish household
by Arthur Woodburn, Secretary of State for Scotland



The National Health Service in Scotland, Origins and Ideals, 1900-1950
Morrice McCrae
Tuckwell Press, 2003

Selected quotations from AL Rennie, John Forfar, Ronald Fraser, and Mark Fraser used on this site are drawn from a valuable series interviews with clinicians and civil servants involved in the setting up of the NHS.

Scotland’s Health 1919-1948
Jacqueline Jenkinson
Peter Lang, Bern, 2002

Scotland’s Health, 1919-1948, offers a professional historian’s perspective, drawing on a wide range of primary sources.

The Healers: A History of Medicine in Scotland
David Hamilton
Mercat Press, reprinted 2003

The Healers, a History of Medicine in Scotland gives a concise account of the NHS and its development. David Hamilton has also contributed two chapters to:

Improving the Common Weal, Aspects of Scottish Health Services 1900-1984
Gordon McLachlan (ed)
Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, 1987

This volume of essays was the first work to cover the distinct nature of the development of health care in Scotland over the last century. It was the brainchild of Chief Medical Officer Sir John Brotherston who died before it was completed.

Scotland’s Health and Health Services
Kevin Woods and David Carter (eds)
Nuffield Trust, 2003

This important study examines the changing nature of Scottish health policy and health services management from 1984-2003.

The Citadel
AJ Cronin

The Citadel is available in several editions and was originally published by Victor Gollancz in 1937. Cronin’s Adventures in Two Worlds (Gollancz, 1952) is described as an autobiography but must be read with caution. He switches from fact to fiction throughout the book.

The Scottish Secretaries
David Torrance
Birlinn 2006

The Scottish Secretaries covers the political history and the various personalities behind it.

The Scottish Office, Depression and Reconstruction, 1919-1959
Scottish History Society, 1992
Ian Levitt (editor)

A detailed narrative which also includes useful primary source material.

Other print sources consulted:

Sir John Crofton’s quotations on this website are taken from:

The NHS Revolution: Before and After, A Personal View in Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 1998: 28: 576-584.

Gullane and the Miners’ Convalescent Home
National Archives of Scotland – HH101/508 provide the main source for this website.

Details on Sir John Fraser and Sir Harold Stiles can be found in:

  1. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children 1860-1960
    Douglas Guthrie
    (E and S Livingstone 1960)
  2. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 1929-1979
    EF Catford
    (Scottish Academic Press, 1984)

The National Health Service in Scotland 1947-74: Scottish or British? (Historical Research vol 76, no 193, 2003)
John Stewart

Hospitals, Regions, and Central Authority: Issues in Scottish Hospital Planning, 1947-1974 in The Practice of Reform in Health, Medicine and Science, 1500-2000 (M Pelling and S Mandelbrote eds, Ashgate, 2006)
John Stewart

American Jewish Medical Students in Scotland, 1925-40, is in DA Dow (ed) The Influence of Scottish Medicine (Parthenon, Carnforth, 1988)
Kenneth Collins

Educating Nurses in Scotland, A History of Innovation and Change 1950-2000 (Hypatia Trust with RCN Archives, Penzance 2004)
Rosemary Weir