The Evolution of British General Practice 1850-1948

By Anne Digby | Go to book overview

1
Constructing General Practice

ALTHOUGH general practice provided primary care for the British people its history is much less distinct than that of hospital medicine, and while medical pioneers have achieved fame, the hardworking professional lives and sterling human qualities of general practitioners have remained obscure. Yet the first half of the period has been seen as a time when ordinary doctors 'moved from the margin to the mainstream of social life',1 and the years covered in this volume as ones 'when the [medical] profession underwent its most meteoric development'.2 A need for a comprehensive study of the development of modern general practice is apparent. With a few significant exceptions there has been a dearth of work on the general practitioner of the second half of the nineteenth century.3 General practice within the first half of the twentieth century has received better coverage in relation to selected aspects, with some illuminating specialist work.4 However, much existing historical work has tended either to focus teleologically on the time immediately preceding and accompanying legislation in 1911 and 1946-8,5 or has analysed a particular issue such as the national health insurance scheme,6 or professional organization.7

____________________
1
J. Harris, Private Lives, Public Spirit. A Social History, of Britain, 1870-1914 ( Oxford, 1993), 56.
2
M. Dupree, "Other Than Healing: Medical Practitioners and the Business of Life Assurance During the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries", SHM 10 ( 1997), 81.
3
M. J. Peterson, The Medical Profession in Mid-Victorian London ( Berkeley, 1978).
4
For example, B. N. Armstrong, The, Health Insurance Doctor. His Role in Britain, Denmark and France ( Princeton, 1939); F. Honigsbaum, The Division in British Medicine. A History of the Separation of General Practice from Hospital Care, 1911-1968 ( 1979); R. Stevens, Medical Practice in Modern England. The Impact of Specialization and State Medicine ( New Haven, 1966); D. M. Fox, Health Policies Health Politics. The British and American Experiences, 1911-1965 ( 1986).
5
H. Eckstein, The English [Health Service. Its Origins, Structure and Achievements ( Cambridge Mass., 1964); J. S. Ross, The National Health Service in Great Britain ( Oxford, 1952); A. Lindsay, Socialized Medicine in England and Wales. The National Health Service, 1948-1061 ( Chapel Hill, 1962); J. and S. Jewkes, The Genesis of the British NHS ( Oxford, 1962).
6
N. R. Eder, National Health Insurance and the Medical ProPssion in Britain, 1913-1939 ( 1982); B. B. Gilbert, The Evolution of National Insurance in Britain ( 1966); H. Levy, National Health Insurance. A Critical Study. ( Cambridge, 1944); G. F. McLeary, National Health Insurance ( 1932); J. S. Whiteside , "Private Agencies for Public Purposes: Some New Perspectives on Policy Making in Health Insurance Between the Wars", Journal of Social Policy, 12 ( 1983).
7
H. Eckstein, Pressure Group Politics. The Case of the British Medical Association ( 1960); J. Rogers Hollingsworth , A Political Economy of Medicine: Great Britain and the United States ( Baltimore, 1986); P. W. J. Bartrip, Mirror of Medicine. A History of the British Medical Journal ( Oxford, 1990).

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The Evolution of British General Practice 1850-1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates, Maps, and Figures xi
  • List of Tables xiii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • 1 - Constructing General Practice 1
  • PART I - Careers 21
  • 3 - Recruitment, Education, and Training 40
  • 4 - Reinventing Roles 66
  • PART II - In Practice 91
  • The Medical Market 93
  • 6 - Organizing A Practice 126
  • 7 - Women Practitioners 154
  • 8 - Medical Investigation and Treatment 187
  • 9 - Patients 224
  • PART III - A Wider World 257
  • 10 - Public Duties and Private Lives 259
  • 11 - Generalists, Specialists, and Others 287
  • 12 - National Health Insurance 306
  • 13 - The National Health Service 325
  • Select Bibliography 343
  • Index of Medical Names 365
  • General Index 369
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