They were hunter-gathers, they didn’t grow crops They left no written records, historians rely on archaeological evidence which may be hard to interpret One way round the problem of evidence for prehistoric medicine is to study people who, until very recently, lived in a similar way to prehistoric man. For example, Australian aborigines and Plains Indians What did prehistoric people die from? ? ? ? ? Warfare Pregnancy and childbirth Infection Famine and food shortages Using aboriginal cultures to find out about prehistoric medicine ? ? ? ?
Attitudes and practises of modern aborigines are used in guessing what ancient people did. Some modern aboriginal medicine combines basic practical methods like settle broken bones and bandaging with spiritual explanations of illness and cure. Witch doctors, shamans and medicine men are credited with the ability to cure and inflict illness. Warding off evil is practised as well as driving off the evil. Rituals are often involved. Rituals involved herbs, potions and techniques of practical value – but seen as magic rather than medicine. Natural Beliefs and Treatments ? ? ? Trephining is the cutting of holes in people’s heads.
Skulls show that people survived the operation because the bone continued to grow afterwards. It may have been to allow evil spirits out or to grant special powers of communication with the spirit world. There were two types of healers, Medicine Men and women. Medicine Men were important people in prehistoric tribes, as they could deal with spirits. Women were in charge of everyday health and knew about the healing power of herbs. For every day ailments and injuries with an obvious cause, they had a range of simple, effective remedies based on observation and common sense. Supernatural Beliefs and Treatments? ? ? ?
Prehistoric people thought that everyone own their own spirit and these explained why you became ill. You may feel ill if your spirit had been removed from your body or if an evil spirit had entered your body whilst you were sleeping. Prehistoric man wore lucky charms to keep away evil spirits and to stay free from disease. If you became ill, Medicine Men would try to find your stolen spirit by hunting for the pointing stick which removed your spirit. When they found it, they would throw it into water to set the spirit free. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk.
GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes TOPIC 2 – ANCIENT EGYPT Ancient Egyptian Society ? ? ? ? The Egyptian civilisation was an agricultural one that spread in a narrow band along the River Nile. Every year the Nile floods fertilised the fields and the river provided water for irrigation. Successful agriculture provided spare food so more people were doctors, priests and other professionals. More trade and communication – ships imported new herbs and plants, which were used as medicines. The Egyptians had writing – ideas could be recorded and communicated better than previously.
Natural Beliefs and Treatments ? ? ? ? ? The River Nile led some to suggest that, like the Nile and irrigation systems, the body was full of channels. They thought that you became ill if the channels of your body were blocked. They used purging, vomiting and blood-letting to unblock the channels when someone became unwell. These ideas weren’t accepted by all and those who believed them did not abandon spiritual treatments. The Egyptians also knew diet was important – medical procedures included recommended foods. Supernatural Beliefs and Treatments ? ? ? The Egyptians believed that Gods could cure and cause disease.
Priests kept books which contained accepted treatments and spells. The instructions were exact as to what should be done, what medicines given and what words should be used when talking to the patient. Some drugs used, including opium, are used today. They were probably thought of as driving away evil. Supernatural Beliefs – Mummification of Dead Bodies ? ? ? ? Egyptians believed the body was needed in the afterlife. They preserved bodies through mummification. They prepared bodies for mummification by extracting soft organs such as the brain and the intestines, then drying what remained with salt.
This gave the Egyptians some knowledge of anatomy. They believed that destroying someone’s body meant that they wouldn’t go to the afterlife, so experimental dissection was not allowed. This limited the amount of knowledge that could be gained. Egyptian papyrus has been found that outlines some simple surgical procedures. Carvings in temples have also been found which show a variety of surgical instruments. Observation and Writings ? ? ? The Egyptians were the first to have doctors. Egyptian doctors actually looked at their patients. Diagnosis means the observation of a patient and the recognition of their symptoms.
Egyptian writings survive that demonstrate that they included diagnosis in their medical rituals. Ancient Egyptian Hygiene ? Cleanliness was valued. They bathed, shaved their heads and had toilets. They also changed their clothes regularly. Egyptian toilets have also been found. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 2 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes ? In the Egyptian climate this would have made life more comfortable, but hygiene also appears to have had a religious significance – priests washed more often than others. A Summary of Ancient Egyptian Medicine.
What was new? There were specialist doctors What stayed the same? People still had supernatural beliefs, they believed that Gods and spirits caused disease Doctors looked for logical causes of disease and could identify some parts of the body People still did not understand how the body worked New herbs were used as medicines People still did not understand what causes disease Metal instruments were used for surgery TOPIC 3 – ANCIENT GREECE Background Information ? ? ? ? ? Grew more than enough food and traded with many other Mediterranean countries. They used slaves which gave the Greeks time to educate themselves.
Wartime wounds needed treatments and doctors learn about anatomy. Wealthier people could employ doctors. Improvements in the strength of materials helped to make better surgical instruments. Natural Beliefs and Treatments – The Theory of the Four Humours ? ? Aristotle suggested the body was made up of four humours – blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. These were linked to the four seasons and the four elements. They need to be in balance for good health. Treatments developed from the theory aimed at bringing humours into balance. You could get rid of an excess humour by purging, vomiting or blood-letting.
Natural Beliefs and Treatments – Hippocrates Hippocrates is acknowledged as the father of modern medicine. He was born on the island of Kos. ? ? ? ? He believed in natural causes of disease, and encouraged doctors to treat illness using natural methods. The Hippocratic Oath is a promise made by doctors to obey rules of behaviour in their professional lives. Doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath today! The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of medical books, some written by Hippocrates or his followers. Hippocrates also came up with the “clinical method of observation” which doctors still use today.
This involves studying a patient’s symptoms to diagnose their illness and then treating them. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 3 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Healthy Living ? ? ? The Ancient Greeks believed that to be healthy they needed to exercise. Hygiene was important, with emphasis placed on washing. Diet was also thought to be important. Many Ancient Greeks followed a diet that changed with the seasons – eating lots in winter, but drinking little – while in the summer drinking more and eating less. Supernatural Beliefs and Treatments – The Greek God of Healing, Asclepios ?
? ? ? ? Temples were called Asclepions and people went there to stay when they became ill. Visitors bathed and relaxed, prayed to Asclepios and sleep in a building called an abaton. An abaton was a building with a roof but no walls. Whilst sleeping a god came come to them in a dream and cured them. Priests also did “ward rounds”, performing rituals which involved placing snakes on the patients. Success stories were recorded in inscriptions on the walls of the Asclepions. Asclepios’ daughters, Hygeia and Panacea, were also involved in healing. Alexandria and Dissection ? ? ? ?
The library of Alexandria attempted to collect all the knowledge of the world. Unlike in the rest of Ancient Greece human dissection was allowed in Alexandria. Alexandria became famous for training medics and surgeons. Accurate observation was the key to much of the advancement made there. Doctors from Alexandria went to practise all over the world. Erasistratus identified the differences between arteries, veins and nerves and saw that nerves were not hollow and so couldn’t be vessels for fluid. Surgery ? ? ? ? The mechanics of surgery advanced slightly in Ancient Greece. Although it was still a risky procedure.
Ancient Greeks used surgery as a last resort – most treatments were performed outside the body. Surgeons developed good techniques for setting broken bones and in extreme cases would amputate. A range of surgical instruments were developed, made from iron, steel and brass. TOPIC 4 – ANCIENT ROME Connections in Greek and Roman Medicine ? ? ? Greek doctors, they were unpopular because they were foreign and some were jealous of their skills. The main medical books in Rome were written by Hippocrates and his followers who were all Greek The Romans took over universities and libraries at Alexandria, it was the centre of medical learning.
Background Information ? ? ? Romans were very wealthy. People of the Roman Empire were taxed. It was a slave owning society. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 4 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Public Health ? ? ? ? Noticed that bad smells, unclean drinking water, sewage, swamps and dirt made people become ill. They build aqueducts to carry clean water into cities. They also built public baths, toilets and sewers to remove waste. Ideas about public health spread around their huge empire. Claudius Galen – He wrote 60 medical books! ? ? ? ? ? Galen was a Greek physician.
Like Hippocrates, he believed that illness was caused by imbalances of the four humours. Just as Hippocrates did, he told doctors to observe patients carefully and record symptoms. He developed the idea of opposite humours for counter-balancing the body’s humours. Galen discovered that the brain, not the heart, controls the speech. He found that the arteries, as well as veins, carry blood through the body. Proved that animal’s anatomy is different from humans. HOWEVER… ? ? ? Galen made mistakes because he had to use only animals. He said there were holes in the septum of the heart which would let blood pass from right to the left side.
Galen also believed that the blood was consumed rather than circulated. Beliefs and Treatments ? ? ? Romans were not as interested as the Greeks in developing theories about the causes of disease. Doctors recommended more exercise, changes in diet or prescribed herbal medicines as opposites. Doctors were too expensive for most people. The head of the family was expected to look after their household. They would use herbal remedies and common sense methods. Surgery ? ? ? The most common surgical treatment was bleeding. Internal operations were still rare because they were too risky.
There were amputations; trephining was used to relieve pain in the head. Summary of Roman Medicine Changes Continuities ? ? ? ? ? ? Good harvests, better houses, more food Trained doctors in the army and towns Wider range of herbal medicines Fresh water supplies, sewers and baths These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk ? Diseases could not be stopped from spreading Women treated most health problems, often using herbal remedies and common sense The poor did not benefit from the new public health schemes Page 5 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes TOPIC 5 – MEDIEVAL Background Information.
Wars destroyed the Roman public health systems and medical libraries. The rulers of the small kingdoms built up armies rather than improving medical skills or public health. War disrupted trade so countries became poorer. Travel became more dangerous, reducing the communication between doctors. Training of doctors was abandoned. Copies of Galen’s books were either lost, or hidden away for safety. HOWEVER, LATER… ? ? ? ? The church had set up universities where doctors could be trained. Armies took trained doctors to war with them where they gained experience as surgeons. Rulers were taken to clean up towns.
Merchants and scholars were once again travelling around Europe, sharing ideas Influence of the Christian Church ? ? ? ? The Christian Church grew stronger in the Middle Ages. Monasteries controlled education, priests and monks were the only people who could read. The Church opened medical schools where the ideas of Galen were taught. The only libraries were in monasteries, church sometimes banned books they did not want people to read. Monasteries made an effort to provide clean running water and toilets. Medieval Hospitals ? ? ? Medical care for the poor came from hospitals set up by monasteries, and run by monks and nuns.
They provided “hospitality” for visitors. Genuinely ill people were often turned away due to fear of disease spreading. The Return of Hippocrates and Galen ? ? ? ? Galen’s ideas were rediscovered. Church leaders looked carefully at Galen’s works and decided that they fitted in with Christian ideas because he referred to “the creator” in his works. Doctors in the believed his ideas were correct and it was nearly impossible to improve his work. Galen had great influence on the doctors in the Arabic world and in medieval Christian Europe Medical schools began to appear in Western Europe, starting with the one in Salerno, Italy.
Translations of Galen’s and Hippocrates’ work were accepted as absolute truth in medical schools. Arab Medicine – Islamic scholars picked up and developed ideas from the Greeks whom they greatly admired. ? ? ? Aristotle’s four humours, Galen’s treatment by opposites and Hippocrates’ clinical observation lived on. Books were written that brought together the ideas of Aristotle, Galen and Hippocrates. These books were important means by which these ideas got back to Western Europe. The attitude of Muslims towards the Koran meant that they were unwilling to criticise the works of Galen.
These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 6 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes The Four Humours Theory ? ? ? Medieval doctors believed illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours. The theory developed into a more complex system, based on the position of the stars. Although human dissection was carried out in medical schools, findings were interpreted as the theory of the four humours – although some later doctors began to challenge traditional understandings. New Developments in Medieval Medicine ? ? ? ? More schools sprang up and human dissection was allowed.
There were some doubts about classical texts. New techniques included diagnosis by urine sample. This is a good aid to diagnosis, which is done today! Doctors also believed the stars caused disease and relied on astrology when deciding on treatments Trained doctors were very expensive. Medicine practised amongst the most was provided by monasteries and housewife-physicians, using traditional cures and their experience. Supernatural Beliefs and Treatments ? ? ? The church believed that illness was a punishment for sins – they prayed to god if they became ill. Some believed that pilgrimages to holy shrines could cure illness.
Doctors had superstitious beliefs, saying magical words when treating patients and consulting stars. Developments in Surgery ? ? ? ? In the Middle Ages, there was great demand for surgery because of warfare. Surgery was held in such low regard that many procedures were often left to untrained barber-surgeons. Wine was first used as an antiseptic. Surgical treatments were still simple, as major surgery was risky. Public Health Measures ? ? ? Towns lacked the public health schemes of the Romans. People relied on cesspits and wells. Waste was frequently disposed of into the street. People found it healthier to drink beer, than to drink water.
The Black Death – 1348 ? ? ? ? Spread by coughs and sneezes or by black rat flea bites – black rats were carried overseas by ships. Arrived in Britain in 1348. Its victims were struck down suddenly and most died. Symptoms included exhaustion, high temperatures, swellings and difficulty breathing. Ships were made to wait 40 days before landing – they were quarantined. What did people think caused the plague and how did they treat it? ? ? ? ? Miasma – carried sweet smelling herbs, sat between two large fires. God – tried to appease god by praying, or becoming flagellants (whipping themselves as a punishment).
Humours out of balance – use of opposites, purging, vomiting and blood letting. Poisoned water – blamed the Jews. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 7 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Quick Summary of Medieval Medicine. ? ? ? Doctors followed the ideas of Galen. They believed illness was caused by an imbalance in humours. Believed that God and the Devil influenced health. Disease was seen as God’s punishment for sins. Astrology became important. Doctors studied star charts because they believed that the movement of the planets affected people’s health.
TOPIC 6 – RENAISSANCE Background to the Renaissance ? ? ? ? Renaissance means rebirth. It began with close study of classic texts and was critical of old translations There was a greater interest in how the human body worked based on observation and dissection. Artists attended dissections of human corpses and did wonderful illustrations for medical books. Return of classical texts led to a renewed faith in the four humours theory and treatment by opposites. Andreas Vesalius – Anatomy ? ? ? ? Studied anatomy, became professor of surgery and anatomy at Padua. He was allowed to do dissections.
Did his own dissections and wrote books based on his observations using accurate diagrams to illustrate his work. His most famous book was ‘On The Fabric of the Human Body’ written in 1543. He was able to point out some of Galen’s mistakes. Vesalius said there were no holes in the septum of the heart and that the jaw bone is not made up of two bones. Vesalius encouraged doctors to dissect and look for themselves. Ambroise Pare – Surgery ? ? ? ? ? Pare was a battlefield surgeon; this was still a low status profession. In battle, he ran out of boiling oil which was used for treating gunshot wounds.
Pare made an old Roman ointment of roses, turpentine and egg yolk. Pare develops ligatures to seal wounds instead of using a cauterising iron. Carried out an experiment to disprove Galen by proving the bezoar stone isn’t a treatment for position. Writes ‘Notes on Surgery’ and becomes the King’s surgeon. William Harvey – Circulation of the Blood ? ? ? ? ? ? Discovers the circulation of the blood, disproving Galen’s ideas. Identifies the difference between arteries and veins. Becomes doctor the King, his ideas are very influential. To spread his ideas he writes “An Anatomical Account of the Motion of the Heart and Blood”.
However, bleeding operations still continue after Harvey as people are unsure of what else to do. Blood groups are discovered in 1901, which makes blood transfusions successful. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 8 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes The Great Plague of 1665 ? ? ? ? ? This was the worst of the reappearances of the Black Death. The death toll in London was about 100 000. Efforts were made to control the spread of disease. Households were locked in and red crosses were painted on their doors with the words, “Lord have mercy upon us.
” Carts organised by the authorities roamed the city to the now infamous cry of “Bring out your dead! ” collecting corpses for mass burial in “plague pits”. People realised disease was contagious, but they still didn’t understand about germs causing disease. The Great Fire of London in 1666 effectively sterilised large parts of London, killing the plague bacteria. Public Health ? ? There were many wars during the renaissance. Warfare gobbled up resources. Populations were beginning to increase in the towns and cities, placing more strain on the available clean water supplies and sewage disposal systems.
What factors affected progress in medicine during the renaissance? ? ? ? ? The Printing Press – new ideas could spread more easily and rapidly now that books could be printed. The Weakening Power of the Church – people did not have religious beliefs about the causes of diseases, meaning that people started to look for natural causes. Doctors could now dissect. Artists Drawing from Life – medical drawings could be drawn and shared among doctors through medical books, new anatomy books were produced. Renewed Interest in Ancient Learning – people wanted to learn how to read, they began to challenge old medical ideas (e. g.Galen holes in the septum).
TOPIC 7 – 1750 TO 1900 Background Information Why Had They Stopped Reading Galen in the Nineteenth Century? ? ? ? ? New understanding of the body and Galen’s descriptions were incomplete and sometimes wrong. The invention of the proved that Harvey’s ideas were right. Theory of the four humours no longer accepted. People initially thought that miasma, caused disease. Doctors carried out dissections and used microscopes. Galen’s books were no longer important. Smallpox and Edward Jenner Inoculation ? ? ? In the 18th century, smallpox was a big killer. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brought inoculation to Britain.
She discovered that a health person could be immunised against smallpox using pus from the sores of a sufferer with a mild form of the disease. However, inoculation sometimes led to smallpox and death. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 9 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Edward Jenner ? ? ? Jenner was a country doctor. He heard that milkmaids didn’t get smallpox, but instead a milder cowpox. Jenner investigated and discovered people who had already had cowpox didn’t get smallpox. In 1796 he took a small boy and injected him with pus from the sores of a milkmaid with cowpox.
Jenner then injected James with smallpox. James didn’t catch the disease! Opposition to the Smallpox Vaccination ? ? ? ? Jenner could not scientifically explain how it worked. Inoculators were afraid of losing money. Many were worried about side effects; they worried about giving themselves a disease that from cows. Some members of the Church believed that vaccination was not natural. Developments in Nursing Florence Nightingale ? ? ? ? ? Nightingale brought discipline and professionalism to a job that had a bad reputation at the time. From a wealthy background, she became a nurse despite the opposition of her family.
Went out to the Crimean War to sort out nursing care in the English camp. She made huge improvements in the death rate, due to improvements in ward hygiene. When she returns home, she writes a book ‘Notes on Nursing’ and sets up a hospital in London. Mary Seacole ? ? ? From a poor background in Jamaica. Seacole volunteers to help as a nurse in the Crimean War, she is rejected, but goes anyway self-financing her journey. She nursed soldiers on the battlefields and built the ‘British Hotel’. Goes bankrupt when she returns to England – but receives support due to the press interest in her story and she writes an autobiography.
How Did Scientists Discover the Causes of Disease? Louis Pasteur’s Germ Theory – 1857 ? ? ? Scientists thought microbes were caused by disease and appeared because of illness. This was the theory of spontaneous generation. Instead of blaming microbes, people looked for miasmas. Louis Pasteur was employed in 1857 to find the explanation for the souring of sugar beet used in fermenting industrial alcohol. His answer was to blame germs in the air. He proved there are germs in the air by sterilising water and keeping it in a flask that didn’t allow airborne particles to enter.
This stayed sterile – but sterilised water kept in an open flask bred microbes again. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 10 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Robert Koch ? ? ? German scientist. He began linking diseases to the microbe that caused that specific disease. Koch developed a solid medium to grow cultures, and dyeing techniques to colour microbes, which he viewed through high-powered microscopes. He identified anthrax spores and the bacteria that cause septicaemia, tuberculosis and cholera. Louis Pasteur – Chicken Cholera Vaccine?
Hearing of Koch’s, Pasteur came out of retirement and competed to find new microbes and combat them. Pasteur looked for cures to anthrax and chicken cholera. Both he and Koch worked with large teams of scientists. Charles Chamberland was in Pasteur’s team. Chamberland was told to inject chickens with chicken cholera, but it was the day before his holiday and he forgot. He left the germs on his desk and injected the chickens when he returned from his holiday. The chickens survived, Pasteur and Chamberlain tried again with new germs, but the chickens survived.
The cholera had been weakened by being left out, and the weakened cholera made the chickens immune. Chamberland’s error had produced a chance discovery. Louis Pasteur – Anthrax Vaccine ? Pasteur’s team managed to produce a weakened version of the anthrax spore that would make sheep immune to the disease. They demonstrated this in a public experiment. Overcoming the Problems of Surgery Surgery in the early 1800s was dangerous and painful. Infection was the greatest danger to patients. What problems faced surgeons in 1800? 1. Pain – patients can die of clinical shock during surgery. 2.
Infection – people were unaware of microbes that cause infection. Surgeons would wear the same dirty apron for every surgical procedure they carried out, passing on infection between patients. 3. Bleeding – patients can die if they lose too much blood during surgery. How was the problem of pain overcome? In 1800, surgeons tried various ways to ease suffering of patients – e. g. getting them drunk, knocking them out and giving them opium. Nitrous Oxide or ‘laughing gas’ was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy. It was never really widely used as Davy’s findings were published in a book that was not well known, the book was given an obscure name.
Ether used by J. R. Liston during a leg amputation. However, it had very unpleasant side effects. Chloroform used by James Simpson and some friends at his home. They realised that it could be used as during surgery. However, it led to unexplained deaths. The dose given could not be measured or controlled. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 11 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Reasons for opposition to anaesthetics: ? ? ? ? They were uncomfortable for patients. Some doctors believed that pain was good for healing. People didn’t understand how they worked.
Didn’t understand the side effects that new substances could have on the body. The final acceptance of anaesthetics: The final breakthrough came when Queen Victoria accepted the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic during the delivery of her eighth child. How was the problem of infection overcome? Until germ theory in the 1850s, surgeons didn’t take precautions to protect open wounds. They reused bandages, didn’t wash their hands before operations and didn’t sterilise surgical equipment. Joseph Lister and the discovery of antiseptics: ? ? ? Heard that carbolic spray was used on sewage.
He knew sewage had a similar smell to gangrene. He had read the work of Pasteur on his germ theory. He was prepared to take risks. Reasons for opposition to Lister: ? ? ? ? Lister’s methods slowed down surgery. The spray was uncomfortable for doctors to use, it affected their skin. Pasteur’s germ theory was not widely accepted in 1857. Surgeons did not copy his methods correctly and were therefore disappointed with their results. The final development of aseptic surgery: By the late 1890s Lister’s antiseptic methods led to aseptic surgery. This is the removal of all possible germs from theatres to ensure absolute cleanliness.
The following methods were introduced… ? ? ? Operating theatres and hospitals were rigorously cleaned. All surgical instruments were steam sterilised. Sterilised rubber gloves were first used and surgeon’s hands were scrubbed. How was the problem of bleeding in surgery overcome? Once William Harvey had discovered the circulation of the blood, the first blood transfusions were attempted. Early blood transfusions often ended disastrously because… ? ? ? Blood groups had not been discovered. They could not prevent the blood from clotting. Infection could be passed on.
These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory.co. uk Page 12 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes Developments in Public Health Public Health Problems in the Early 1800s ? ? ? ? ? During the late 1700s and the first half of C19th, conditions in British towns became worse than ever. Houses were built as close together as possible as more people crowded into factory towns to work. Towns could not cope with the need to provide people with water and sewage disposal facilities. In these squalid conditions, diseases spread easily and rapidly. The conditions were so bad that many people’s health may have even become worse than ever before.
The Battle to Improving Public Health ? ? ? ? Some thought that the government should force local councils to clean up their towns. However, many believed that the government shouldn’t interfere – this attitude is called laissez-faire. They believed the government should allow each local area to control its own affairs. This meant that local ratepayers made all the decisions. Local ratepayers didn’t want the government to force them to pay for improvements to their towns. Edwin Chadwick ? ? ? ? In 1842 he was asked by the government to report on the living conditions and health of the poor.
Chadwick concluded that poverty was caused by ill health which was caused by the terrible conditions in which people lived. He said that ratepayers can cut their taxes and save money in the long-term by looking after the poor and to spend money improving their health. In his “Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population” he said industrial towns should: o Organise drainage and refuse collection o Provide a pure water supply o Appoint a Medical Officer of Health For over 30 years an argument went on about the need for town councils or the government to take action.
Towns such as Liverpool and Manchester did start to build sewage and water-supply systems. 1848 Public Health Act ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The government did nothing at first about Chadwick’s recommendations. However, in 1848 there was another outbreak of cholera, this put pressure on the government to do something. Parliament reluctantly agreed to pass Public Health Act. Although it was not compulsory. The government set up a Board of Health to encourage, but not to force, local authorities to improve conditions. They gave local authorities money to make improvements in their areas if they wanted to and had the support of local ratepayers. Only a few local authorities took any new measures.
By 1872 only 50 Medical Officers of Health had been appointed. The Board of Health was abandoned in 1854. These notes are brought to you by revisegcsehistory. co. uk Page 13 of 17 GCSE History – Medicine Through Time Revision Notes 1853 John Snow ? ? ? ? ? ? In 1854 John Snow proved that there was a link between cholera and water supply. He used research, observation and door-to-door interviews to build a detailed map of a cholera epidemic in Broad Street.