The history of medicine during the 20th century: from bullets to Beveridge

Ref: C2338992

The course will explore key individuals and developments during the 20th Century which added to our understanding of disease, surgery and treatment. The important advances made amidst the carnage of two world wars in reconstructive plastic surgery, blood storage and x- ray diagnosis. Ehrlich, Hata and Domagk’s search to find cures for diseases and the development of “magic bullet” drugs. The course will investigate arguably the greatest medical turning point of the 20th Century, the discovery and development of penicillin and conclude with an exploration of the impact of the Beveridge report and the creation of the National Health Service.

Course aim

The course will aim to gain an appreciation of significant medical turning points during the 20th Century: from Bullets to Beveridge

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Know about key individuals who contributed to significant progress in medicine
  • Understand the key factors that have caused major changes in medicine
  • Be able to share ideas with other students and challenge assumptions about progress
  • Explore the reasons why the NHS was set up and the difficulties faced by the new Labour government

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

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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • 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
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

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
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

The history of medicine during the 20th century: from bullets to Beveridge


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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