In 1842, Edwin Chadwick argued that disease was the main reason for poverty, and that preventing disease would reduce the poor rates. In 1848, a cholera epidemic terrified the government into doing something about prevention of disease, through both public and individual health measures. Further measures included:
• In 1848 the first Public Health Act caused the setting up of a Board of Health, and gave towns the right to appoint a Medical Officer of Health.
• In 1853 vaccination against smallpox was made compulsory.
• In 1854 improvements in hospital hygiene were introduced (thanks in large part to Florence Nightingale).
• In 1875 a Public Health Act enforced laws about slum clearance, provision of sewers and clean water, and the removal of nuisances.
• In 1906 local councils were told to provide free school meals for poor children.
• In 1907 school medical examinations were ordered for all children (among these examinations were those of the 'nitty nurse').
• In 1908 Old-age pensions were introduced.
• In 1911 National Insurance (free medical treatment for workers who fell ill) was introduced.