- Created by: annie_anders11
- Created on: 03-04-18 16:28
Public Health before 1850s
Why Wasn't Anything Done?
- The key belief of the government was laissez-faire (leave it alone)
- The rich didn't want any new schemes being made as it would come out of their pockets in the form of taxes
- Some people believed that they should fend for themselves to avoid becoming dependant on others
- By 1830 the government had finally realised that something needed to be done on Public Health.
- 1838 - Edwin Chadwick was given the job to investigate the living conditions in East London
- 1942 - His report: 'The sanitary conditions of the Labouring Population' was published with his ideas about the link between disease and poor living conditions.
Limitations of Chadwick's work
- 1842 report - did not lead to immediate reform - 1848 Act only introduced following Cholera outbreak.
- His influence faded in 1950s partly due to his arrogance and refusal to accept Germ Theory
1948 Public Health Acts
1848 Public Health Act - Influenced by Chadwick's report: triggered by Cholera epidemic.
This act encouraged but didn't force councils to:
- Collect taxes for Public Health improvements eg. Improving water supplies
- Appoint a medical officer of health
- It also enabled local authorities to borrow money to pay for improvements
The act was permissive & expensive:
- £11 million borrowed between 1848-72. Only a few local authorities took measures to improve conditions.
- By 1872 only 50 councils had appointed Medical Offices of Health
Impact of Cholera & the work of John Snow
Cholera - The most feared infectious diseases of the industrial age, first arrived in England in 1831 in Sunderland where it killed 30'000 people - those who had no provisions of clean water:
- Suffering: horrible symptoms such as vomiting, cramps, skin turns blue/black
- Speed: you could be dead within 24hrs & spreads through towns rapidly
John Snow - pushing the government into intervention with the 1848 Public Health Act
- 1832 - first encountered at a coal mine in Killingworth where he noticed the poor sanitation.
- 1836 - When he received his degree; he then began to look into Cholera.
- Unconvinced by the miasma theory of how Cholera was spread as it did not affect the lungs - instead, it caused dehydration & diarrhoea.
- Snow's theory; spread through the ingestion of polluted water. Londoners received their water from the Thames, as well as disgorging their waste there!
- 1849 - Snow published a medical pamphlet: 'On the Mode of Communication of Cholera' in which he outlined his theory.
- 1854 - Epidemic allowed Snow to prove his theory. His map showed those living near the Broad Street pump were suffering. Whilst those who drank at the brewery never got infected: due to not drinking out of the pump.
1875 Public Health Act
A Move Towards Government Intervention - Laissez-faire attitude weakening in 1850-60s
- 1858: Great Stink, plans were being made for sewer system in London as hot weather & low level of River Thames exposed sewage. The Smell was so bad, parliament couldn't meet.
- 1866: another outbreak of Cholera least affected towns where improvements were made, reinforcing link between hygiene and health.
- 1867: Working class men received vote: pressure on government & councils to take action
- 1866 Sanitary act - appoint inspectors to check water supplies.
- 1875 Artisans Dwelling Act - gives local authorities power to buy & demolish slum housing
1875 Public Health Act - A mechanism for consolidating all previous acts of parliament relating to Public Health during 19th century. Responsible for ensuring the following to be provided:
- Clean water & public toilets
- Sewers & Drains and Rubbish removal
- Appointed Health & Sanitary Inspectors & a Medical Officer of Health
- Quality of food in shops & quality of new housing
Some towns were still living in bad poverty & ill health. 1881: infant mortality began to increase..
Why did the Liberals introduce Public Health Reforms
1906 - Liberal Party won the general election and promised to make changes to improve conditions for the poor, the old, the children, & those in poverty through illness or unemployment
There were several reasons why the Liberals made these changes:
- The history of social reform in Britain where governments have tried & failed to improve conditions. The Liberals wanted to succeed where others have failed.
- The social reformers eg Charles Booth influenced the government to take action by showing their proof of bad living standards: approx 30% of the public live below the poverty line
- Attitudes to the poor had changed by 1906: most people no longer believed that poverty was their fault.
What did the liberals do?
- Help for children
- Help for old people
- Help for working people