Describe the origins of public health in the UK from the 19th Century to the present day

Topics: World War II, Health care, Medicine Pages: 11 (3187 words) Published: April 26, 2014
Describe the origins of public health in the UK from the 19th Century to the present day In this assignment I am going to describe the origins of public health in the UK from the 19th century to the present day. I am also going to compare historical and current features of public health.

Public health is the measures taken by the government to prevent ill health and disease. The government monitor health so that they can develop different programmes and legislation to improve the health and well being of the people in the country. They do this by attempting to solve inequalities, so that all people not matter what are able to live a healthy life. There are eight policies to improve today's public health, these are; planning for health emergencies (this is making sure that health services are prepared for emergencies such as accidents, outbreaks of disease and terrorist attacks), helping more people to survive cancer (by attempting to reduce the cancer death rate by 5000), reducing smoking (by reducing smoking rates - 18.5% for adults, 12% for 15 year olds, and 11% for pregnant women), giving all children a healthy start in life (by improving maternity care and introducing the Healthy Child Programme, which is available to all families), reducing obesity and improving diet (by introducing the Change for Life programme, and ensuring that food packaging has clear nutritional information), reducing harmful drinking (again by introducing the Change for Life programme, and by providing £448 million to improve the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families), reducing drugs misuse and dependence (by providing support and information on drugs (I.e. FRANK), and supporting children in there first five years of their lives, to prevent drug use further on in their lives), and Creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (by promoting sports and healthy living). (,, Policies).

(1) Napoleonic Wars (1790 - 1815)
During the Napoleonic Wars, almost eight times the amount of British soldiers that were killed in action were killed by disease. This majority of deaths due to disease were caused by the Bubonic Plague, and was due to the living conditions of the soldiers - as they lived in tents and in fields which were often overrun by rats, which carried the disease. It was also found recently that many soldiers suffered from lice borne versions of the disease typhus, and also the infection trench fever. ( BBC News, Health, Lice 'undermined Napoleon's army') An important thing that these wars brought was the use of field hospitals, and nurses and ambulances on the battlefield. These ambulance were carts pulled by horses. Another thing that was brought by these wars was the Principle of Triage. This was devised by Dominique Jean Larrey, who was Napoleon's chief surgeon, and meant that the people with the most severe would be treated first - no matter what rank they are. (, History of War, Napoleonic Wars, Dugdale-Pointon)

(2) Poor Law Amendment (1834)
This act was created because the government had spent too much money in the 1830’s looking after the poor. This piece of legislation stated that if the poor wanted food, clothes and shelter, they had to work at the workhouse. People had to cope with bad living conditions and minimum meals. Families were also split up. Edwin Chadwick played a big part in creating this legislation. (, BBC BITESIZE, History)

(3) The 1848 Public Health Act
This act was amended mostly by Edwin Chadwick, as he stated that if the poor were healthier, they would be able to get better jobs – therefore meaning that the government wont have to pay as much to workhouses and helping the poor. One of the things changed by this...
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