Reviews Book

A History of Britain's Hospitals and the Background to the Medical, Nursing and Allied Professions

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:57
  1. Leyla Sanai, retired consultant anaesthetist (
  1. Glasgow

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    Book Guild, £18.50, pp 415 ISBN 1 85776 905 8

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    Healthcare professionals will have varying degrees of recollection of the health service of the past, depending on their age, experience, and memory, and whether or not they are wearing rose tinted spectacles. Yet although we may remark on how many aspects of the NHS have changed in the past few decades, few of us know much about the British health service of centuries past.

    Dr G Barry, a retired honorary consultant at London's St Thomas' Hospital, and Lesley Carruthers, a medical researcher, have set out to change that. Starting in the first century ad—the earliest time for which records are available—they meticulously work through the birth and development of medical and nursing services and hospitals, incorporating topics such as the earliest monastic hospitals and lazar houses; the growth of London's hospitals; workhouses; specialist services for women, children, and the mentally ill; and the origins of the NHS and modern …

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