While there was a school on Pharay and some religious services, there was no doctor. The nearest one was on Eday, which meant a boat journey to get the doctor across. This was not always possible.
Children born on the island were delivered by one of the women. Barbara Groat (c. 30th December 1813) was one of these midwives. On one occasion when she was in her eighties, she was called upon in the delivery of a baby when it was not possible to get medical assistance from Eday.