By Roy Porter
In his brief yet authoritative learn, Roy Porter assesses the impression of disorder at the English prior to the common availability and public provision of remedy, incorporating into the revised version new views provided via contemporary learn. He examines the clinical career, attitudes to medical professionals and ailment, and the improvement of nation involvement in public overall healthiness. Drawing jointly a lot fragmentary fabric and offering an in depth bibliography, this publication is a vital advisor to the background of drugs and to English social heritage.
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Extra resources for Disease, Medicine and Society in England, 1550–1860
Doctors were helped, furthermore, by the growth of advantageous sidelines. As already noted, hospital posts became available, offering prestige and admission into the higher circles of town life, and the promise of future profit. Other country practitioners topped up their income by engaging in 'contract' Poor Law practice. The developing medical speciality of man-midwifery provided further opportunities. A specialist London man-midwife could charge fees running into hundreds of guineas to deliver titled ladies who found it more modish and perhaps safer to have a well-trained, genteel male practitioner rather than the conventional midwife .
In fact, the best way to approach quackery is to view it as the most entrepreneurial sector of medicine. Few 'empirical' practitioners were regularly trained, unorthodox methods were to the fore, including the use of electric shock therapy, and they drummed up custom by advertising and spectacular publicity, rather than by cultivating a settled general practice by patronage or word-ofmouth recommendation. Quacks made their profits out of selling commodities, above all, nostrums, rather than from receiving fees for advice, expertise and bedside attendance [10; 97].
The GMC would add names to the Register. More crucially, it would be the body that struck names off, for such offences as gross professional misconduct (expulsion rarely happened). Through the GMC, the state gave its blessing to medicine's claims to be an autonomous, self-governing ethical profession. The constitutional reorganisation of the 1850s has proved durable; this was partly because it mainly registered changes the profession had already undergone. For, long before the 1858 Act ended the paper wars between physicians, surgeons and apothecaries, new professional regroupings had taken shape.