From Barber Surgeons to the NHS

Ref: C2338442

During the 19th Century medicine in Britain was transformed. Training was standardised, doctors were regulated and the medical profession emerged. Crucial advances were made in knowledge and technology. Anaesthesia and antiseptics revolutionised surgery. Public Health became a government concern for the first time. Women campaigned successfully to enter the medical profession. War resulted in dramatic changes in battlefield medicine. The first half of the 20th Century saw an increase in state involvement, culminating in the establishment of the NHS.

Course aim

To study the development of medicine in Britain between 1800 and 1950.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. Identify the main advances made in knowledge and technology.
  • 2. Evaluate the contribution of significant individuals.
  • 3. Comment on the changes in the medical profession.
  • 4. Describe the influence of war on medical advance.
  • 5. Recognise the steps towards the NHS.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Class presentations on selected topics

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

From Barber Surgeons to the NHS


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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