Medicine: The Twentieth Century

In GCSE History students will look at the world of medicine and the advancements that have been made in it over time. One period they will look at is the 20th Century, focussing particularly on the NHS.

The key event in medicine in 20th Century Britain was undoubtedly the setting up of the NHS in 1948. Free public healthcare at the point of use was hailed as a major advance in its time. Sadly, the NHS began to show signs of age after about 30 years, and a debate began about how best to reform it.

Test your knowledge of medicine in 20th Century Britain in this quiz.

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  1. In 1969 responsibility for health care in Wales was removed from the Secretary of State for Health and given to which other minister?
    This move was undertaken partly to satisfy Welsh public opinion. But it is not clear that it made health provision in Wales more efficient
  2. Which elected government bodies opposed the NHS, as they would have to relinquish control over local hospitals?
    It was decided at an early stage that hospitals would be centrally controlled
  3. All NHS treatment was free at the point of use, but in the early 1950s charges were imposed on certain items to pay for the Korean War. Which of the following was now charged?
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer could see no other way of paying for this foreign policy crisis
  4. Which of the following factors is the greatest long-term threat to the NHS's present structure and organisation?
    All of these factors affect the NHS already. But the latter is the most serious one
  5. Which doctors' organisation at first rejected the NHS idea, and then changed its mind?
    The Labour Government was skilled at dividing the medical profession by buying off sections of it with bribes
  6. Which one of the following types of organisations provided health insurance before the setting up of the NHS?
    If you did not wish to pay for health care, charitable provision or insurance policies were the only alternatives before 1948
  7. In Beveridge's Report of 1942, he argued in favour of a welfare state, including a free health service. Which of the following categories of people did he feel deserving of free health care?
    Beveridge was a liberal, but it was the Labour Party that embraced his ideas and carried them out
  8. The Conservatives under Thatcher and the Labour Party under Blair sought more funding for the NHS from the private sector. Blair's PFI was highly controversial. What does PFI stand for?
    The only other way of raising more money was through higher taxation, which both prime ministers opposed
  9. Which cabinet minister steered the NHS legislation through by the summer of 1948?
    This was a job that demanded great patience, tact and determination
  10. Which group of medical practitioners were allowed under the NHS to keep their lucrative private practices as well as their NHS salaries?
    Private practice was far from abolished: it was tolerated, even encouraged

Author: Edward Towne

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