Nurse celebrates NHS milestone with royalty

Nhs 70 - group 1 - kit neil with hrh and jeane freeman - credit lloyd smith

90-year-old former nurse worked in the NHS from the start and has helped celebrate its birthday in Edinburgh recently 

17th July 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

She was recruited on the very day the NHS was born and now the 90-year-old former nurse has helped celebrate its 70th anniversary alongside royalty.

Kit Reid honoured the milestone at a packed reception held at the National Museum of Scotland on Thursday 5 July.

Kit, who lives at Bield’s Butts development in Haddington, mingled with a handful of well-known faces on the night, including Nicola Sturgeon and The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William.  

She said: “It was an absolute privilege to be invited to the reception for the NHS’s 70th birthday. I can’t thank the Provost of East Lothian, John McMillian, enough for putting my name forward.

“I got to speak to so many people from different walks of life at the event, and share my stories from when I worked as a nurse.

 “I also had the privilege of meeting and speaking to Prince William about my experiences before and after the launch of the NHS. He was very charming.”

From 1946 to 1952, Kit worked as a nurse in Edinburgh. During her time on the wards, she spent nearly five years treating children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

According to the East Lothian resident, the introduction of the healthcare service in 1948 played a vital role in lifting the morale of nurses, patients and families.

Kit added: “Before the NHS, people were under a lot of pressure with World War Two and nurses had to chip in with jobs out with their own, such as cleaning the hospital, to get things done. It was hard work.

“A lot of people couldn’t afford to see a doctor too, which was difficult when young children who were extremely ill were brought in.

“When the health service came into play, my first impression as a young nurse was really positive. It was so much happier and a much busier place. The experience working there was really hands-on.”

The Butts in Haddington is a retirement housing development aimed at people aged 60 and over.