Betty's hat - Earache? Take a pickling onion

PUBLISHED: 12:51 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:30 04 May 2010

Betty Wilbraham

Betty Wilbraham

PROBLEMS WE have to start looking after ourselves like we used to when I was a child. We have to start supporting each other and helping each other to cope. But people go to the doctor because the service is there. We didn t expect the family doctor t

PROBLEMS

WE have to start looking after ourselves like we used to when I was a child. We have to start supporting each other and helping each other to cope.

But people go to the doctor because the service is there. We didn't expect the family doctor to see us for problems we could deal with ourselves.

We would go to the chemist instead of the doctor and now the NHS is going back to this policy. It's gone full circle.

As children we used to walk two miles to school, home again for lunch and back in the afternoon.

In the winter, my mother would feed us with two teaspoonfuls of her remedy to keep colds away. She would heat a Spanish onion, liquorice chippings and black treacle in the slow oven and keep it in an earthenware jar with a brown teapot lid on the top.

If we had earache a pickling onion would be heated and put into the ear and held in place with a bandage wrapped round your head and fastened at the top with a safety pin.

By the 1930s people could buy glasses at Woolworth's. It cost 6d for each lens and 6d for the frame.

It was the custom when a person reached his or her 21st birthday to give two sets of dentures as a present.

Before the NHS, we had the friendly societies, such as the Oddfellows or the Buffaloes. Men paid a certain amount out of their wages and it entitled you to ask certain doctors to call.

When the NHS started it was only responsible for the hospitals. The councils took care of everything else under the rates.

But the biggest change came in 1974 when the Tory government added the domicillary services to the NHS and nurses started working in the districts.

District nurses always carried their black bags. Children believed babies came out of those black bags.

REFURBISHMENT

The NHS has wasted money on image and refurbishment of facilities rather than putting it into patient care.

Now we are being told we can have treatment in Europe if the waiting lists are too long.

Now we have Brussels telling us what we can and cannot do. I never thought we should have gone into Europe

I remember saying I was not in favour of Europe during a WI meeting. The members put down their pencils and said 'goodness gracious me, Betty, we never thought you were a communist'!

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