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Timeline

A Significant Medical History

In the scheme of things, 60 years is not a long time: but it is all too easy to forget how completely different life was then for ordinary people.

Before World War Two, most working men were members of the National Health Insurance Scheme. Some women and children could see a ‘Club Doctor’ because they paid into a ‘sick club’. A large part of the population – the unemployed, the elderly and most women and children – could not afford to pay doctors’ fees or for insurance.

In Glasgow, the Corporation (as the City Council was then called) had set up a district medical service to help the many people who simply had no access to healthcare. The Corporation was also responsible for most of the hospitals within the City.

Other hospitals were funded by voluntary subscriptions – the Rottenrow maternity hospital, Yorkhill and the Western, Victoria and Royal Infirmaries. ‘Voluntary’ hospitals like these provided accident and emergency services, undertook the most complex surgical work and were centres of university teaching and research.

Under the new NHS, the hospitals were nationalised. Family doctors (GPs) became independent contractors because many of them objected to becoming employees of the government. Local authorities remained responsible for health visitors, sanitary inspection and public health.

See some pre-NHS hospital statistics and a medical supplies list!

 

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Nurses, Doctor and hospital patient - pre NHS days