Health and Social care in Britain during the medieval periods was only available through local parish churches, where it was believed to be a Christian duty to undertake the ‘Seven Corporal Works of Mercy’ (Jones 2006).The provision and entitlement of care varied between the many different areas causing many of the poor to migrate to the more generous areas (ibid). This increased the levels of begging and crime creating concerns about social disorder after the reformation of the Church of England when the population’s values began to change towards the poor (Slack 1990). This resulted in the government introducing a series of Acts resulting in the 1601 Poor Law Act, the first appearance of society providing for the poor (ibid).
Business owners and the middle and upper classes were required to pay a levy tax, to fund the cost of services for the poor, who was divided into deserving and undeserving poor (Slack 1990). The deserving poor was those classed as those unfit to work due to age, disability or circumstance and received a minimal amount of money and food to just survive, while the undeserving poor were those who were fit to work but refused and was to be publicly punished under the new law (Jones 2006 ). However,The enforcement of this new law varied between towns and migrants continued to move to the areas where the law was less enforced (ibid). The increasing migrants raised the taxes that covered the cost of looking after the poor and the tax payers became increasingly angry, who claimed they was paying for the idle to be lazy and demanded change (ibid). Government once again became concerned about social disruption and aimed to reduce the costs to tax payers in the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 (ibid). The Poor Law Amendment Act (1834) introduced new rules that meant everybody would be treated the same and only the deserving poor would be given help while the undeserving would only receive help from bleak and punitive workhouses (Englander 1998). It was During the Boar war the Liberal government began to move away from the 'Laissez- Faire' view currently held, after concerns was raised about the physical condition of the population, believed to be caused by malnutrition and poor living conditions, resulting in new Acts to encourage a productive future workforce (ibid).
The new Acts included the The Education (Provision of meals) Act that was introduced in 1906 to ensure poor children received better nutrition, on the hope it will decrease disease and illness (Brundage 2002). National Insurance was first introduced during 1911, to provide workers with financial insurance against times of hardship and ill health (ibid). Workers were required to pay a small amount of their income into a government scheme, which was to be paid back to them in times of unemployment and covered costs of any medical treatment required (Englander 1998). After the second world war the Labour government begun to search for ways to rebuild Britain which resulted in the Social Insurance and Allied Services report being published by William Beveridge (Bradshaw and Bradshaw 2004). The report recommended the government discover ways of fighting the five 'Giant Evils' of society, want, squalor, disease, ignorance and idleness by providing adequate income, healthcare, education, housing and employment (Bradshaw and Bradshaw 2004).
The National Health Service (NHS) was developed as a result of Beveridge's recommendation for a welfare state, under the principle that all citizens receive a comprehensive service for all health and social care needs when needed, that is free to the public at point of use (Jones and Lowe 2002). However, the prediction that demand would decrease as disease was cured soon proved false as the ageing population, expensive new medical technology and the creation of new drugs created new financial pressures (ibid). Despite these issues the structure of the...
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