This timely and assured text provides lecturers and students with a well informed, penetrating analysis of the key questions in medicine and society. The book is divided into three sections. It opens with a well judged account of the context of health and illness. It moves on to examine the process and experience of illness. Finally, it examines how health care is negotiated and delivered.

A Very Brief History of Medicine and Society

A very brief history of medicine and society

Chapter Summary

This chapter describes:

  • the social, economic and political changes affecting health and healthcare;
  • developments in the practice of medicine;
  • the initial documentation of health inequalities;
  • the establishment of the NHS;
  • and introduces ideas about priority setting in the NHS.

Useful Terms for this Chapter

germ theory: the idea that many diseases are caused by micro-organisms, invisible to the naked eye, which was controversial when first proposed, but which now underpins micro-biology and basic hygiene practice (see Box 1.3, p. 25)

knowledge explosion: expansion of knowledge initially associated with mass printing technology and now with digital technology, which means that no single person can keep up with all of advances in understanding, even ...

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