Over the years the NHS has adapted to meet changing patient expectations and incorporate ever-advancing technology.

Long before the days of mobile phones and the internet, it was car radios that were being phased in to help staff out in the field.

Among the first to get the high-tech new equipment was Cumbrian midwife Josephine Hope, back in 1967.

She said not only were there no mobiles, many families that she visited didn't have their own house phones. The only way to get messages was to drive back to the midwives house - her work base and also her home for many years - and check if anyone had called.

This meant that women could not reach her if they went into labour and needed her in a hurry. It was hoped that the car radios would solve that problem, and Josephine - who worked in Wigton and the surrounding rural area - was among the first to test them.

"I think it had been started originally in Manchester and Leicester but this was the first time in a rural area," she recalled.

"It was in 1967. I was about 25. I was the only one in the Wigton area that had a radio. I remember my code was Blue Zero Two.

"We had to go to the ambulance station and they went through it all with us, showing us how they worked.

"You were very much out there on your own, so in that sense it was reassuring. But it was really so that the mothers didn't feel as isolated. They knew we were on call if they wanted us.

"I wouldn't really say it changed things that much. It made us feel like we were more in contact and not as isolated when we were out in the district. If mothers needed us they could get a message to us."

However she said that, as with all technology, it wasn't always reliable.

"The only problem was that they kept running the batteries down in our car, so it didn't last long!" she said.

"If I'm honest we didn't really need it a lot, but the ambulance did ring us if someone had called in. They might have been in early labour so you'd go round and check them over.

"I can't ever remember using it in an emergency. I'd usually inform the local GP if I was going out and things were getting imminent, just in case they were needed. But I have to say, most of the deliveries I did were on my own and were all fairly straightforward."

Josephine said she always knew she wanted to be a district nurse. In those days - when most babies were born at home, rather than in hospital - that also meant qualifying as a midwife.

"I'm not really sure why I wanted to be a nurse. None of the family were nurses, I just knew it was something I wanted to do," she said.

"When I was at Wigton secondary school we had a very forward thinking headmaster and he started a pre-nursing course. I was very privileged because I could do that for three years until I was 18. I actually passed my first nursing exam when I was still at school."

In 1961 she began her training at Carlisle Infirmary, going on to work as a staff nurse before moving on to further training.

In 1964 she went to Manchester to train in midwifery, then later completed her district nursing qualifications.

"After that you were allowed to call yourself a Queen's Nurse," she said.

"I did enjoy working on the wards, but I always knew I wanted to be a district nurse. I wanted to look after the family, not just one person in a bed. It was great. Everyone was there - husbands, other children, grandparents. It was a nice atmosphere.

"Also, the mothers knew us already. We'd looked after them all through their pregnancy. I really liked that part of it."

In total she delivered about 100 babies in the Wigton area.

She also nursed many others at home, including lots of elderly patients.

Josephine married Derek in 1966 but continued to live lived at the local nurses' house until she was pregnant with their first child.

Back then you couldn't work when you were pregnant, so she took a break from nursing to bring up her two daughters - Sarah, who is now in the RAF, and Joanne, who has followed in her footsteps to become a nursing officer at the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She worked in nursing for roughly 20 years in total, retiring in 1998.

Josephine said that the NHS has changed a lot in that time, with most people now delivering their babies in hospital.

She said regardless of whether a woman chooses a home or hospital birth, she still believes strongly in a person-centred approach, ensuring the mother feels relaxed throughout labour.

She added that nursing may have changed, but the core values have remained the same - and she hopes the NHS has a strong future.

"There's been a tremendous amount of advancement in terms of the technical side. I suppose the car radios were the start of that.

"We were more hands on, but I would hate to think that the caring part of the role was going to be replaced by technology. I hope it will always continue to be a caring service.

"As a country we are very lucky to have a National Health Service and I have fond memories of working in it."

This Saturday is International Day of the Midwife, a day when midwives across the globe celebrate what they do.

In recent years midwifery services across Cumbria have been undergoing high-profile changes.

A new £12m birth centre recently opened at Furness General in Barrow as part of efforts to improve care.
South Lakes Birth Centre

The 2,553 sq m unit is made up of 14 en suite birthing rooms with facilities for partners to stay over, two dedicated operating theatres, a special care baby unit, a maternity assessment area, a transitional care facility, a skills lab for staff training and a bereavement suite.

Building started on the unit in September 2016 and took just under 15 months to complete, opening in February.

In north and west Cumbria, there has also been a high-profile fight to keep consultant-led maternity at the West Cumberland Hospital.

This has resulted in the service being secured for at least 12 months while efforts are stepped up to recruit key staff.

New midwife-led units are also being established at both the Whitehaven and Carlisle hospitals to offer women more choice.

There are also birthing units at the Westmorland General in Kendal and at Penrith hospital, while more women across the county are also being encouraged to consider home birth if suitable.

As part of NHS 70 celebrations, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is appealing for photographs and memorabilia from days gone by.

The Queen visited the Children's Ward at Furness General on May 24, 1985 Photos uncovered to date include one of the Queen visiting the Barrow children's ward on May 25, 1985.

The trust wants local people to share their memories of Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General Hospital, Morecambe’s Queen Victoria Hospital and Ulverston’s Community Health Centre.

It wants to hear from staff, past and present; families of staff members who were working in healthcare in 1948 when the NHS was formed; those working during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s to talk about how care changed; patients who have fond memories of the trust’s hospitals and staff; anyone who has information or historical facts of what local healthcare was like before July 5, 1948.

They would also like to hear from generations of families who have worked at the trust who would be willing to share their story and have a family photo taken.

Call 01539 716675 or email communications.team@mbht.nhs.uk.