PAST and present NHS staff who have gone the extra mile in caring for patients in Upper Nithsdale have been warmly praised.

The tribute came from the area’s MP and Scotland Secretary, David Mundell, as he marked the 70th anniversary of the health service.

Mr Mundell paid tribute to NHS health heroes, the backbone of a service, who, since the organisation’s inception in 1948, had risen to growing challenges of an ever-changing world.

He said: “Increased opportunities for treatments have emerged with every generation and that has brought increased demands on the service.

“But the NHS has responded well with one constant being a caring culture within the organisation — both among medical professionals and support staff.

“I want to thank everybody who has worked so hard in the health service over those 70 years for the care and attention they have given patients.

“I’ve used the NHS, so has my family. When my mother passed away earlier this year she had fantastic care at the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.”

Looking forward, Mr Mundell listed improving mental health services, reducing obesity and delivering social care for an ageing population as among some of the significant challenges.

He urged Scottish Ministers to make the most of the UK Government’s recently announced £2 billion package of extra funding for the NHS north of the border.

Meanwhile, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell has spoken of the importance people in his constituency placed on having a healthy NHS.

There is a clear demand for a well-resourced and managed service across the area said Mr Mundell.

“One thing that strikes me over and over again in my job as an MSP is just how much impact the health service has on all our lives.

“The NHS trully lives up to its founding principle of providing a service from ‘the cradle to the grave’ and many constituents I meet believe it should always be the highest priority when it comes to public spending,” he added.

Congratulating local NHS staff on the organisation’s birthday, he commended them on their work and expressed the hope more health professionals would fill vacancies attracted by the unspoiled beauty of the region and quality of life.