Changes in the Medical Profession in Great Britain in the XIX Century

John Osborn, Maria Sofia Cattaruzza, Flaminia Gentiloni Silverj


The nineteenth century was important for medicine in Britain because the foundations of a united medical profession were laid by the Medical Act of 1858. This established the General Medical Council which had the responsability of maintaining a list of qualified medical practitioners. This not only protected the public from unknowingly using unqualified medical practitioners, but also created a monopoly of medical practice which was protected by law. In the second half of the century, women started to qualify and be registered. The century also saw the development of effective anaesthetics and the idea that the health of the public could be preseved by legislation. The notion of prevention was born, even though after a further one hundred years, the profession is still dominated by the idea that its responsibility is to cure. 


Key words: Medical Profession - XIX Century - Great Britain 

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