Scots stars recall their personal NHS experiences for new charity book

Dear NHS features contributions from some of Scotland's best-known cultural figures. Picture: OrionDear NHS features contributions from some of Scotland's best-known cultural figures. Picture: Orion
Dear NHS features contributions from some of Scotland's best-known cultural figures. Picture: Orion
Author Ian Rankin, comic Kevin Bridges, actor Peter Capaldi and broadcaster Lorraine Kelly are among a host of famous Scots who have recounted their experiences of the NHS for a new book.

Writers Irvine Welsh and Alexander McCall Smith, comic Frankie Boyle, actor David Tennant and singer KT Tunstall are also featured in Dear NHS.

All proceeds from sales of the collection of “100 stories to say thank you”, compiled by comic and writer Adam Kay, will help support NHS charities and research projects.

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Ricky Gervais, Sir Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley, Ed Sheeran and Peter Kay also contribute stories to the book, which Kay hopes will “say thank you to the heroes who are putting our lives before their own every day.”

Kelly writes about the care she received after falling from a horse which then stamped on her leg 18 years ago.

She says: “I was in complete shock, lost three pints of blood and needed help urgently. And, of course, the NHS was there to pick up the shattered pieces.

“In the ambulance I was given morphine, but much more importantly I was given reassurance. They held my hand and told me I was doing fine and not to worry that the blue light was flashing and the siren was blaring.”

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Rankin recalls how a “lucky streak” growing up ended when he ended up in hospital when he was 19 after suffering “blinding headaches.”

He writes: “The initial diagnosis was a migraine but the prescribed tablets didn’t help in the least. I ended up unable to get out of bed and, after my father’s traditional cure (a vinegar-soaked clot on the forehead) proved ineffectual, a home visit by our GP led to a new diagnosis of meningitis.

“I was rushed into hospital and given a lumbar puncture. Curled in the foetal position, I didn’t see the liquid spurt halfway across the room from my spinal column but the attendants assured me it was a spectacular display. Along the way, I was also found to be giving a home to some form of salmonella bacteria.”

Capaldi recalls ending up in hospital after being accidentally punched on the head and knocked unconscious by Brian Blessed while filming an 18th century BBC costume drama.

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He writes: “Ambulance, casualty and nine stitches right along my eyebrow later, and still fully made up and wearing a gold jacket, jabot, laced shirt, breeches, white tights and ornate buckled shoes, I was told I was being kept in for observation due to a head injury.”

Bridges writes: “Aside from an asthma attack when I was seven, when I was rushed to hospital and kept in for a few days, and a fairly embarrassing operation a year ago (I’ll omit the full details here but google ‘torn fissure nerve’ for an idea - never strain too hard during a bowel movement, folks), my own personal experiences are fairly limited, thankfully. A situation that will gradually change as I grow older and my west of Scotland upbringing takes its toll.”

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