Care of the Sick c1900- 1948

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Care of the Sick c19001948
The early 20th century
At the start of the 20th century it was still the woman in the family who were mainly
responsible for treating the illnesses and caring for the sick this was because the
doctors had to be paid for treatment and many people could not afford to pay out
for this type of treatment so frequently, so doctors were only really for very
serious illnesses.
Traditional `folk' remedies were continued to be used
o A red cloth to help you recover from a cold or influenza
o A sweaty sock tied around the neck to help a sore throat.
Not only this but many of these `serious' illnesses (such as tonsillitis) were dealt
with in local cottage hospitals or even on a kitchen table. Surgery was also done
in these casual places whereas nowadays they would be done at a large
hospital. However if there was anything very serious such as a leg amputated
then they would be referred to a specialist in the `big' hospital.
Charitable hospitals
Many hospitals offered basic health and care to the sick rather than the range of
treatments that we now expect. But some hospitals were aimed at specific
illnesses such as sanatoriums which were built to provide a healthy diet, fresh air
and hygienic conditions, which patients with TB needed if they were to recover.
Since many hospitals were funded by charity, effective fundraising was vital. In
1912. Queen Alexandra started a national rose day, on which day volunteers
sold roses to raise money for these hospitals. The 1st ever rose day collected the
equivalent of 2 million pounds in today's money.

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Improving the access to health care
o By 1900, most cities had built infirmaries, fever houses and asylums to
care for the poor.
o There were also local cottage hospitals and specialised sanatoriums,
although most of these depended on charity for their funding.
o 1907: health visitors were introduced to visit mothers and help them care
properly for their new babies.…read more

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By 1900 doctors had to have a university medical degree and to be
accepted by the General Medical Council. They would have carried out
dissections while training and have accompanied a doctor working on the
hospital wards.
o Increasingly, doctors chose to become either a General Practitioner, who
treated the community, or a doctor who worked in a hospital, usually
specialising in one area of medicine.…read more

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The creation of the NHS
Reasons for the NHS being set up
o The government had become increasingly concerned about the
inequalities of health care in the early 20th century, especially once
women got the vote in 1918.
o The bombing raids in the Second Wold War (19391945) produced many
casualties in the cities and the government set up a national Emergency
Medical Service. This brought hospitals throughout the country under the
control of the Ministry of Health.…read more

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The National Health service in 1948
Taxes were used to pay for a wide range of care offered to people, including :
o The right to see a GP and to be referred to hospital
o Treatment by dentists and opticians
o Health care for pregnant women and young children
o Ambulances and emergency treatment
o Health care for the elderly
This had a major impact on people's health. Previously only those covered by the
National insurance system could see a GP free of charge.…read more

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Treatment is more complex and equipment more expensive with new
technology such as MRI scans.
o Staff costs are high because of increased training for doctors and nurses,
increased wages for highly trained staff, and nursing care while patients
recover from treatment.
Long waiting lists for treatment developed in the late
20th century and many people's conditions deteriorated
before they could get the specialist help they needed.…read more

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Training now takes about seven years including:
o Taking a university degree
o Spending time in hospitals, gaining experience in a range of areas and
gradually taking more responsibility
o Becoming a GP or working with a consultant in a hospital and developing
specialist area.
As research provides new information on treatments and prevention, appropriate
training is rolled out throughout the NHS. For example, scientific research has
shown that quick medical intervention is particularly important in case of heart
attack or stroke.…read more


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