Medicine Ashore

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Naval hospitals were established in order to provide effective care for sick and injured sailors ashore, the first recorded at Plymouth in 1689. As they developed naval hospitals were established worldwide to treat naval personnel and their families.

Care is provided by naval Medical Officers, Surgeons, SBA’s (Sick Berth Attendants), later known as Medical Assistants (MA), and the QARNNS (Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service). During the 20th century these staff have seen many changes. New drugs and equipment have altered working practices and reductions in the numbers of naval personnel have led to the restructuring of medical services on a tri-service basis, the closure of naval hospitals and the treatment of service personnel in NHS hospitals.

Select a theme below to hear the first hand experiences of people working during this time.