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A Famous and Flourishing SocietyThe History of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 1505-2005$
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Helen Dingwall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615674

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615674.001.0001

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The College in transition: medical reform to NHS, c. 1830–1948

The College in transition: medical reform to NHS, c. 1830–1948

(p.143) 5 The College in transition: medical reform to NHS, c. 1830–1948
A Famous and Flourishing Society

Helen M. Dingwall

Edinburgh University Press

The nineteenth century was a period of considerable change in Scotland. The rise of the large cities, particularly Glasgow, and the ongoing changes in the demographic map meant that medicine and its organisation had to change also. Large populations required large hospitals; large hospitals required better organisation and staffing. College Fellows were involved as practising surgeons and as members of hospital boards, government bodies, and other supervisory and policy-making organisations. This was the heyday of Empire, and Edinburgh-trained surgeons took their skills to all parts of the world. Scotland was the industrial capital of the world, and wielded industrial machinery and economic power out of all proportion to its very small size. It was against this background – a complex amalgam of power, poverty, and political change – that the College acquired its current home, participated actively in the push for medical reform, and gradually began to embrace the surgical possibilities afforded by the advent of anaesthesia and antisepsis. This chapter looks at the continuing and new influences on the College in this period of significant change in the organisation and supervision of medical training and practice, and in the provision of health care. The key areas of medical reform, the increasing importance of higher surgical training, and developments in surgery form the core of the chapter.

Keywords:   College of Surgeons, medical training, medical practice, health care, medical reform, surgical training

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