Walking London's Medical History Second Edition
Highly Commended, BMA Medical Book Awards 2013
The history of health care is complex, confusing, and contested. It involves more than just the creation of hospitals and dispensaries, infirmaries, and health centers. There are also royal colleges, trades unions, medical schools, nurses' homes, coroners' courts, nursing sisterhoods, ambulance stations, patients' organizations, and medical missions.
Usually, to enhance our understanding we sit and read books, or, nowadays, surf the Internet. But it's more fun to go out, visit the buildings where events unfolded and transport yourself back in time. The story of how health care has developed from medieval times to the present day is told through seven walks in central London, each with a key theme, such as:
- Competition between the church, crown, and city for control
- Changing fortunes of particular districts
- Radical reform between 1840 and 1880
- Individual creativity and entrepreneurship
- Hospitals' unavoidable choice between merger or migration
- Transformation of health care trades into professions
- Development of primary care
The book takes as much interest in one of the six ambulance stations build in 1915 by the London County Council as it does in the grandest teaching hospital. Although some important buildings have been destroyed, and others are threatened, many remain. The walks aim to help preserve our legacy as, increasingly, former health care buildings are converted into hotels, offices, homes, and shops. Awareness of their original functions is in danger of being lost. The book also aims to increase our understanding of the current challenges we face in trying to improve health care. For there are many lessons to be learnt from the past.
Packed full of curious and surprising facts about medicine and beautifully illustrated with maps, photographs, and images, this is the perfect guide book for anyone with a passion for urban walks, the history of London, and, of course, medicine.
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