STAFF, patients and visitors came together at local hospitals to celebrate 70 years since the founding of the NHS last THursday (July 5).

There were tea parties in glorious sunshine at the Dilke Hospital in Cinderford and at Lydney Hospital with plenty of delicious cake.

There were displays of pictures and there were memories of the old days, the good and the not so good.

Among those celebrating the anniversary at Lydney Hospital was Sandra Jones who was a sister in casualty at Lydney and matron for the hospital.

She said she was “very proud” to have been a part of the NHS story.

Mrs Jones, who retired in 2002, said: “I have lovely memories of Lydney, but before I came here I had never worked in a small hospital.

“In the large hospitals where I had worked, you were a number, like the patients – it was ‘the leg in bed 14’ but you came here and you felt you were a human being and so were the patients.

“It was a lovely, community feel. We worked as a team and the Friends (of Lydney Hospital) were always there for us and so supportive and the hospital worked brilliantly with the local GP surgeries.

“NHS staff work incredibly hard but I think there is a lot more pressure and tick boxes these days.

“There have been a lot of changes and many of them have been very positive.

“When I started as a nurse there was one drug for high blood pressure, now they work in combination.”

Mrs Jones was born nine months before July 5 1948, the date that the NHS was founded.

The doctor who came to check the birth had to be paid – and the family, like so many others, had to save to cover the cost of healthcare.