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Development of Health Care - Essay Example

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Summary
The pangs of poverty though happen to be enervating and unsettling, it is a fact that the issues surrounding poverty tend to differ in each age and time. A cursory walk through the ECHO picture archives brings one face to face with scenes replete with barefooted children who had been devoid of a decent and nourishing meal since ages (Liverpool Echo 2009)…
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Development of Health Care
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Development of Health Care

Download file to see previous pages... In Elizabethan times, parishes had to bear with the responsibility of taking care of the poor living in the community (Liverpool Echo 2009). The poor in those days could benefit from "outdoor relief" in the form of food, clothing and fuel. However, with an unwieldy appreciation in the poor population, the parishes decided to withdraw this already insufficient outdoor relief and started resorting to "indoor relief" in the guise of hell like workhouses that required the less miserable amongst the poor lot of Britain to bear with inhuman work conditions in lieu of a pitiable yet indispensable sustenance (Liverpool Echo 2009). However, the things got worst at the start of the 19th century, which led to the introduction of Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
Zillions of workhouses came up all across the UK. Poor Relief reduced to a shameful pittance accessible only to those who were willing to opt for exploitative workhouses instead of a hapless existence. The life in such workhouses was far from being bearable and homely. Comfort was an elusive pie in the sky that was far beyond the reach of even the relatively well to do poor. In fact, the possibility of affiliating to some workhouse was a perpetual fear that haunted the deprived families huddled in the slums to bear with their hopeless existence. Workhouse records and Census returns do elaborately testify to the miserable lot of the poor in the 19th century. Workhouses were a dreaded place divested of all hope and future. The moving spirit behind these workhouses was to keep the living standards of the inmates much below that of the lowest paid labourer. The poor had to bear with subhuman rules and norms, which made their lives frustratingly monotonous (Hull Daily Mail 2007). They had to carry their pitiable status with them in the guise of grey tweed suits and blue and white striped dresses (Hull Daily Mail 2007). A harsh policy of gender segregation went to the extent of separating even married couples and siblings.
Homelessness and abject poverty appropriated within their scope a plethora of health problems. The life expectancy amongst the workhouse residents was very low and they exhibited some of the highest death rates in the UK. The poor huddled in the workhouses were four times more prone to accidents and thirty five times more likely to commit suicide (Herald Express 2008). Chest and skin infections, gastrointestinal troubles, poor circulation, compromised dental hygiene, anaemia, and visual and nutritional problems perpetually defined the life at a workhouse (Herald Express 2008).Yet, the biggest eliminator tended to be the extreme mental and emotional turmoil that the poor in Britain had to cope up with in these workhouses. The senseless and absurd practice of classifying the poor by the criteria of 'deserving poor' and the 'undeserving poor' added insult to injury. The 'deserving' being those who were too old or infirm to work while the 'undeserving' being wandering beggars and destitute. The principle of less eligibility smacked of a festering annoyance and intolerability in the society and the state that intended to keep the unemployed deliberately poor; and vulnerable to or rather forced to taking jobs for which they were essentially unqualified or averse to (Baggot 2004). Of course, such ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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