Friday, 22 November 2013

The End of an Era

The National Health Service (NHS) was implemented across the UK in 1948. The new NHS brought to an end the charitable Kelso Dispensary which had been established as far back as 1777.

The Kelso Dispensary

In the records of this charitable institution there is a final report by the directors which I found interesting (NRS reference HH71/6). Here are some excerpts:

Kelso Dispensary and Cottage Hospital

“REPORT by the Directors to the Forty-first Annual Meeting of the Members to be held on Wednesday, 25th August, 1948, in the Town Hall, Kelso, at 3 p.m.

WITH the coming into operation of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act on the appointed day, 5th July, 1948, the Duties of the Directors as regards the administration of the actual Hospital ceased. The provisions of the Act as affecting the Hospital are, very briefly, that the Hospital Buildings and Equipment are transferred to the Secretary of State for Scotland, and the other assets comprising Invested Funds, Cash, etc., as ascertained at 4th July, are to be transferred to the newly-formed Border Hospital Group Board of Management, which body is responsible for the management of the Hospital from and after the appointed day…”

“The directors feel that as their last Act of Administration it is their duty to place before the subscribers and the general public this Report, including audited Accounts for the period from 15th May, 1947, to 5th July, 1948.

It is fitting to record that the Hospital and the Kelso Dispensary, whose functions were taken over by the Hospital in 1908, have given an uninterrupted record of service to the public since 3rd October, 1777. The Dispensary was the first of its type in Scotland, and served as a prototype for many similar Institutions in both Scotland and England.

One of the purposes of the Dispensary, a continuance of which was one of the conditions upon the Dispensary Funds we made over to the Hospital, was the provision of an Outdoor Nursing Service. The provision of this service is, since the passing of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act, wholly the responsibility of the Local Government, which in the case of Kelso, is Roxburgh County Council.”

I am working on an index to the patient registers, beginning in 1777 and working forward in time. Year One is available as a free PDF and the first complete volume will be published shortly from To register an interest please email me and I’ll notify you when Volume One is ready for sale:


  1. Emma and Graham what a fabulous resource. I congratulate you both on what must be an awful lot of work. Well done xx