There may well be a shortage of trained nurses but that is no excuse for Lori Anderson’s factual inaccuracy (Perspective, 15 May). Elsie Inglis did indeed run a very strict regime in Serbia where she transformed outcomes with hygiene measures that reduced the raging typhus epidemic. This was not, however as a “Scottish nurse, the epitome of a stern matron”
Elsie Inglis was a trail blazer and one of the first female medical graduates. She qualified as a licentiate of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Edinburgh, and the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1892.
She was immensely proud of all her staff in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service but Elsie Inglis herself was actually a doctor.
I was appalled to see Lori Anderson thought Elsie Inglis was a nurse. Elsie Inglis was a doctor, one of the first women allowed to practise medicine, a suffragette and a believer in the equality of women to train for the professions.
But hers was not a vague, academic view. She was practical and pragmatic, and campaigned fearlessly for rights of women to become doctors. An old maternity hospital in Edinburgh was named after her (it is now a care home).
While we are agitating for independence, is it not a bit ridiculous that we don’t even know the profession of one of our most intelligent and colourful predecessors?
VIVIENNE M STIRLING