OHE Publications

Series on Health
November 1972

During the course of the past hundred years countries such as Britain have seen a very marked change in their patterns of morbidity and mortality. For example, between 1848 and 1872 it has been estimated that over 32 per cent of all male deaths in England and Wales were caused by infectious diseases and that only 6 per cent were the result of cancer and diseases of the circulatory system. By 1970 the respective figures were 0.6 per cent and 56.6 per cent.

Series on Health
October 1972

The control of the major health problems of the early part of the twentieth century represents a triumph for medical progress in the past twenty-five years. Developments in pharmacology and in medical technology, and their widespread availability free or at nominal cost to the patient under the National Health Service, have transformed the pattern of sickness and mortality in Great Britain.

Series on Health
September 1972

Out of £868 minion spent on the revenue account of the hospital service in England and Wales in 1970, £242 million, or a little over one quarter, was spent on supplies of goods and equipment. Table 1 shows the breakdown of spending by the nine broad categories which have been used for accounting under the National Health Service. These are the only comprehensive data available at the national level, though they are unable to reflect the diversity of medical and non-medical goods purchased, from boiler fuel to pharmaceuticals and from food to surgical instruments.

Series on Health
June 1972

Migraine is typical of the sort of ill-defined self-limiting condition which takes up much of the time of general practitioners. It involves no risk of mortality but it can cause acute intermittent incapacity to the sufferer, occurring with little warning and at times which may be inconvenient, socially embarrassing and often costly. Perhaps its nature can be best illustrated by a quotation from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, himself a migraine sufferer, ' I 'm very brave really', he went on in a low voice, 'only today I happen to have a headache' (Tweedledum).

Laing, W.A. ed.

May 1972

Proceedings of a symposium HELD AT THE Royal College of General Practitioners on Thursday 21 October 1971

One of the main ideas behind a symposium on 'Evaluation in the Health Services' was to help establish a fruitful dialogue between clinicians, planners, sociologists, economists and others.

Series on Health
April 1972

Arguments in favour of family planning or 'birth control' can be advanced on the basis of one (or both) of two major premises. First, it may be held that overpopulation is the major problem facing the world today. Second, it may be held that family planning is justified primarily in terms of improvement in the quality of life of individuals and families who are able to use modem contraceptive techniques to choose for themselves if and when they want a child. Incidental to this is any saving to public funds that would follow from preventing unwanted births.

Series on Health
October 1971

Ever since the discovery of the circulation of the blood it has been known that blood is forced around the body under pressure from the contractions of the heart. When the pressure in the arteries is consistently higher than normal (usually through increased resistance from the peripheral vessels), hypertension is said to exist, though a precise and satisfactory definition is impossible because the range of 'normal pressure’ can only be arbitrarily defined.

Series on Health
July 1971

As early as 2080 BC reference can be found to epilepsy in the code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon. Special laws affecting the marriage of people with epilepsy and the validity of their testimony at court probably reflected unfounded fears and prejudices that have by no means been dispelled by twentieth century enlightenment.

Series on Health
June 1971

In advanced countries, the majority of medical care is no longer concerned with prevention of death. Better social conditions, modern scientific medicine and in particular immunisation and chemotherapy have removed the commonest causes of premature mortality. The remaining deaths before retirement could often best be prevented by social measures, such as a reduction in smoking or accidents, and in any case they account for only a small, if dramatic, proportion of medical activity.