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Their Majesties The King and Queen join celebrations of NHS 75 at NHS Lothian’s Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh


The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, on Edinburgh BioQuarter, welcomed Their Majesties The King and Queen in celebration of 75 years of the NHS.

The Royal visitors were welcomed on-site by NHS Lothian Chair John Connaghan CBE, Chief Executive Calum Campbell, Chief Officer Acute Services Michelle Carr and Site Director Aris Tyrothoulakis.

Their Majesties began their tour by meeting staff from in NHS Lothian’s Maternity Services, including Associate Director of Midwifery Katy Ruggeri and Director for Women and Children’s Services Allister Short.

Each year, NHS Lothian provides care during pregnancy, birth and postnatally for around 9,000 women, pregnant women and their babies.

Following this, Their Majesties The King and Queen visited the Medicine of the Elderly ward, hearing from Professor Emma Reynish and Michelle Jack, Associate Nurse Director, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh about the vital work of the team, as well as some of the challenges they have recently faced.

Within the department, Their Majesties The King and Queen had the opportunity to visit the Meaningful Activity Centre (MAC), to hear more about importance of the facility.

Meaningful activity such doing arts and crafts, completing a jigsaw or making music, is critically important to a patient’s wellbeing – bringing pleasure and meaning to their lives, supporting social interaction, and in helping to maintain a person’s identity.

Meaningful activity can help to improve physical fitness, improves mood and helps to combat depression and anxiety, combats loneliness, improves quality of sleep and can even reduce falls.

For patients who experience a prolonged hospital stay, or for those whose discharge has been delayed as they await a package of care within the community, the Meaningful Activity Centre provides a vital space where patients can take part in activities they enjoy, and which are more closely aligned to their life outside of hospital.

During the visit, Their Majesties The King and Queen chatted to staff and patients including 95-year old Jean Jeffrey and GP for 50 years, Dr Stanley Moonswamy (86 year’s old).

Calum Campbell, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian said:
“ 75 years is an important and significant milestone for the NHS.

“We are delighted that Their Majesties The King and Queen could join us in celebration, taking time to recognise our services, our incredible and dedicated staff and the role they have played in supporting and caring for the population of Lothian and beyond throughout their lives.”

Before Their Majesties The King and Queen departed, they greeted staff, patients and visitors who had gathered in the hospital’s main concourse. This included 75-year-old Annette who was born a couple of weeks before the introduction of the NHS and who has spent much of her career working in healthcare across Lothian, including most recently within Midlothian Community Hospital.

During her conversation with the King and Queen, Annette explained how she was due to be born after the NHS was established, but because she was premature, her parents had to pay for her delivery. Annette also spoke about her long career within the NHS, where she has worked across many of Lothian’s services including within both the current and previous Royal Infirmary.

Professor John Connaghan CBE, Chairman of NHS Lothian Health Board said:
“ It has been an honour and privilege to welcome Their Majesties The King and Queen to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh as we celebrate 75 years of the NHS. The NHS is a constant in our lives – they’re for the very best of moments and the worst. On this historic occasion, it is fitting that we take a moment to recognise and thank all the exceptional staff, both past and present, who have contributed so much to help others. I am incredibly proud of everyone working across NHS Lothian for their dedication, commitment, innovation and compassion.”