They are the dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly to make sure patients receive the best healthcare possible.
As the 70th anniversary of the NHS approaches, north-east staff both past and present have spoken of their love for their work and how important the service is.
Donald Montgomery, 66, spent 38 years working for the Scottish Ambulance Service.
He was in his late 20s when he first took on the role as a technician for the service in 1981, retiring in 2012.
Donald, of Mastrick, said: “I would always drive past the ambulance service on my way home and thought it would be a good job.
“The field was always interesting to me, but I thought it would be impossible to work for them – because I thought you needed to be a doctor.”
After seeing a post for a position advertised in the paper, Donald applied and was successful.
He said: “I spent eight weeks in Glasgow training in all types of medical and emergency procedures.”
Over the span of three decades, Donald said the job has had “ups and down”, but that the work was “rewarding”.
He added: “One of the most difficult situations I had to face was when I was called to a 12-year-old girl who had collapsed on the street and I had to carry out CPR, but unfortunately she didn’t survive.
At the time my daughter was about her age and it had a big effect on me.
“I nearly left the job after that. I phoned my daughter because I needed to hear her voice.
“I thought that I needed to carry on helping people in need and leaving would be the wrong thing.”
Ebonny Dixon, 33, of Kincorth, is a paediatric staff nurse who was inspired to enter the field after her nephew Connor Shankland was given a 10% chance of survival when he was born.
Ebonny fell ill with appendicitis at 11. That experience along with her nephew’s complicated birth inspired her to become a nurse.
Connor was born with bi-lateral diaphragmatic hernias, which means the intestines push into the chest cavity. She said: “I was about 16 when Connor was born and I was very interested in the mechanics of it all. I always thought I would be a children’s nurse, and now I work alongside the surgeon who saved his life and the nurse who scrubbed up for my appendicitis.
“I think what is so important is the work and the ethics behind what we do to help others and the teamwork and support we can offer.
“The most rewarding part is being part of the team providing treatment for a kid. Sometimes I get stopped on the street and told ‘you’re the nurse that looked after my son or daughter, thank you’ and that’s a lovely feeling to be getting that appreciation.”
Ebonny’s sister Kelly Cairns, mum to Connor who is now 15, said: “The NHS gave my boy the life that was almost taken away from him.
“The care and dedication of the staff is absolutely brilliant.
“I do not know what we would have done without the NHS.
James Hendry, of Fraserburgh, is area ambulance service manager for north Grampian. He spoke of how rewarding his job is.
He has worked in the field since 1977.
He said: “One of my most rewarding experiences was saving a man who had a cardiac arrest.
“Three years later I was walking down the street and I heard someone shouting ‘stop that man’ and I realised it was him. He then started telling people ‘this man saved my life’.”
James added that the most challenging part of the job was the day to day uncertainty.
He said: “You’re never sure what is going to be happening when you get there. It’s about being prepared for anything.”
Phyllis Nicholl, 63, is a former nurse and president of The Royal Infirmary and Associated Hospitals Nurses’ League, which brings nurses from around the city together.
She said: “My aunt was a nurse and when I was 10 I decided I wanted to be a nurse and I have never looked back.
“I spent 43 years in the field and worked as a specialist nurse for the last 20 years. I enjoyed my time nursing very much and the team I worked with.
“We had lots of laughs. If you want to be a nurse, go for it.
“It’s very hard work but very rewarding.”