Medical charities, medical politics : the Irish dispensary system and the Poor Law, 1836-1872 /
Ronald D. Cassell.
[London] : Royal Historical Society ; Woodbridge, Suffolk ; Rochester, N.Y. : Boydell Press, 1997.
x, 181 p.
0861932285 (hardback : alk. paper)
More Details
[London] : Royal Historical Society ; Woodbridge, Suffolk ; Rochester, N.Y. : Boydell Press, 1997.
0861932285 (hardback : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-04-01:
Ireland in the first half of the 19th century boasted an impressive health system. Infirmaries, fever hospitals, and, above all, dispensaries that provided poor people with free medicines and basic health care ministered to the needs of hundreds of thousands every year. Cassell (Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro) takes issue with historians who have credited these medical charities with being uniform in quality and centralized in structure. As he shows, the system operated unevenly and, by the eve of the Great Famine, badly needed to be reformed. The book focuses primarily on the changes that successive governments made to public health care in Ireland, the most important of them being the so-called Dispensary Act of 1851. Along the way, Cassell examines such matters as the political infighting that took place over proposed reforms during the 1830s and '40s, the impact of the famine, and ways that the Irish dispensary system helped to improve medical care for the poor in England later in the century. This is the most thorough study of the emergence of the Irish public health system to date, and it is not likely to be superseded very quickly. Lengthy and up-to-date bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates and above. G. Owens Huron College
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Choice, April 1998
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Main Description
Should be read by...every specialist in public administration in Ireland and England during the nineteenth century. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW **'Choice' Outstanding Academic Book of 1998**In mid-nineteenth-century Ireland there existed a system of medical relief for the poor, via a country-wide system of dispensaries, superior to any public health system in England and arguably in Europe. This book examines the dispensary system and Irish health policy and administration in general, focusing upon the Medical Charities Act of 1851, which placed medical relief under the control of the Irish Poor Law Commission. The Commission's origin, motivation and effect (for example on epidemic control, cholera and famine) are analysed in detail, together with the pre-famine medical charities it replaced and the reorganised poor law system, taking the story through to 1872. The argument is set firmly in the context of the pattern of government growth, of British medical politics as a whole, and of British policy in Ireland; it also shows how the Irish experience influenced developing British policies on health provision. R.D. CASSELL is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This book examines the dispensary system and Irish health policy in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland, and analyses the role of the Irish Poor Law Commission in influencing the developing British policies on health provision.
Main Description
An examination of Ireland's advanced mid nineteenth-century health policy, focusing on the Medical Charities Act of 1851 and the Irish Poor Law Commission.
Table of Contents
The Irish medical charities before 1851p. 1
The medical charities under fire, 1830-1846p. 18
The politics of medical charities reform, 1836-1846p. 40
The famine and the passage of the Medical Charities (Ireland) Act, 1851p. 62
The Medical Charities Act and the development of poor law medical relief in Ireland, 1851-1875p. 78
The Medical Charities Act and public health in Ireland, 1851-1872p. 109
The Irish dispensary system and reform in England, 1866-1876p. 130
Conclusionp. 160
Bibliographyp. 166
Indexp. 177
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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