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Public health in Britain during the hundred years from 1850 to 1950

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Public health in Britain during the hundred years from 1850 to 1950 'Why did people in Britain enjoy better public health after 1900 than before 1900?' There was a significant contentious change after the 1900, in which people in Britain enjoyed better public health than before the 1900. Many people thought that a series of factory acts, building acts and public health acts had continually attacked the worst of infections and diseases. Furthermore, the most important factor which changed the minds of many was the 1911 National Health Insurance scheme, were free medical care and sickness benefits were given to those with an illness. One of the major problems before the 1900, was the lack of knowledge before germ theory. As a result of minor knowledge, Pasteur's published his findings in 1860. After Pasteur has developed his theory that germs were the cause of many problems, he then further discovered that micro-organisms seemed to be responsible not only for milk turning sour, but also for beer, wine and vinegar fermentation going bad. However, it was only until 1860 that Pasteur got the opportunity when the French academy of science organised a competition for scientists to prove or disprove 'spontaneous generation', an old theory about what causes decay. The competition found Pasteur up against another leading French scientist- Pouchet. Pasteur devised a chain of clever experiments to prove that his theories were correct. They succeeded triumphantly, and it was only in 1861 that Pasteur published his findings. (Medicine and Health through time book) Furthermore, for hundreds of years many people knew that there was a link between dirt and disease; however, they didn't know what the connection was. It was only until the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century that conditions in many towns became worse than ever. During this time the population was ever increasing rapidly, that many towns could not deal with housing people and providing them with water and facilities to remove sewage. ...read more.


(Internet- wikipedia) Despite all progress in science and in public health in the nineteenth century, infant mortality was worse than it had been in 1801. The main cause for the problem was poverty leading to malnourishment. This was because millions of people who could not afford even to give their children proper food, much less to pay doctors bills. Diarrhoea caught from germs was the main cause of deaths of young babies. Other infectious diseases were also very serious. Infant mortality was higher in poor families, who were living in insanitary and badly ventilated housing, or eating a poor diet. Colds were also a cause of infant mortality. Furthermore, overcrowded housing was the most important contribution to the spread of preventable disease. Octavia Hill was a Philanthropist, concerned with the welfare of the inhabitants of cities, specifically London, in the second half of the 19th century. Malnourishment was also a key factor to why nobody enjoyed public health, because people were being starved. (Medicine and Health through time book) (Internet) Conversely, after 1900 there were many changes to public health. The First World War brought about great improvements. X-rays were invented before the war. During the war their use became routine to find bullets and shrapnel lodged in the body. Furthermore, blood transfusion was used effectively for the first time, Methods of storing blood and transporting it to where it was needed was improved. In addition, the soldiers who fought in the war were promised good housing when they returned- 'home for heroes', this speeded up the process of getting rid of unhealthy slum housing in Britain. Faced by hundreds of thousands of casualties surgeons learned fast. They developed new techniques to repair broken bones; they also improved methods of grafting skin which later formed the basis for plastic surgery. In addition they improved surgery of the eye, ear, nose and throat. What's more, they successfully attempted brain surgery. ...read more.


By 1948, it was the first day of the NHS; there was the nationalisation of the hospitals, the creation of health care centres, a better distribution of doctor's around the country and a new salary for doctors. By 1944 the system was being planned into two senses, the first that all people could be treated and the second that all forms of health care could be given to the patients. In 1945 a new labour government was elected, and in 1946 its bill to introduce a NHS was passed by parliament. In conclusion, from the points I have discussed before and after 1900, I can clearly see how people would have enjoyed public health after 1900, from the establishing of the national health insurance from the impact of William Beveridge and Aneurin Bevan. Before the 1900, there was a total lack of knowledge before germ theory, there were many epidemics of cholera, there was the impact of Laissez-Faire, furthermore there was the failure of the 1848 Public health act. They also made it compulsory to have a vaccination in 1853, which many people opposed. There was also the Great stink of 1858 which many people faced problems with, although Bazalgette's sewer network controlled the problem. On the other hand, after the 1900, the surveys of both Booth and Rowntree provided necessary data for them to find out where major pauperism was coming from. Furthermore, the impact of Lloyd George and the liberal social reforms, in 1906 the liberal government began the creation of the welfare state. Additionally, the most important factor in the twentieth century is the NHS act, which allowed poor people to have free medical care of any sort. The act was also reliable because there had been many great advances from the first and second world wars, where blood transfusion, X-rays and other surgery was greatly improved, making the medical care in the twentieth century more unfailing for the patients. All of these factors, convinced people to enjoy public health more in the twentieth century than before the 1900's. ?? ?? ?? ?? Arandeep Heer History MYP Assessment 29.06.08 ...read more.

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