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Public health

Event

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people

The Spanish flu pandemic was caused by direct transmission of avian influenza to humans and killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide in the aftermath of the First World War.

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Legislation

The Ministry of Health Act 1918 established the Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health Act 1918 established the Ministry of Health.

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Publication

Lord Dawson’s Interim report on the future provision of medical and allied services 1920 was published in May 1920

In 1919 Sir Bertrand Dawson was commissioned by the new Ministry of Health to chair a council to advise on the systematised provision of health services.

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Legislation

The Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 criminalised possession of opium and cocaine

Before the First World War, Britain had signed the International Opium Convention at the Hague in 1912, which imposed stricter controls on doctors and pharmacists in relation to dangerous drugs and co

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Legislation

The Public Health (tuberculosis) Act 1921 received royal assent

The Public Health (Tuberculosis) Act 1921 obliged county and county borough councils to provide sanatoria, care and after-care services for tuberculosis patients.

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Legislation

The Local Government Act 1929 received royal assent on 27 March 1929

The Local Government Act 1929 reformed the administration of poor relief by abolishing the Boards of Guardians and transferring the responsibility to care for the poor to local authority public assist

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Event

The Ministry of Health permitted local health authorities to provide birth control advice to married women in 1930

The first birth control clinic was founded in London in 1921 following campaigns by the National Birth Control Council (NBCC) over the course of the 1920s.

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Event

The ‘milk in schools’ scheme was launched

Amid concerns over the health and fitness of the population, the government launched the Milk in Schools Scheme (MISS), benefiting 2.6 million children in England and Wales.

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Legislation

The Public Health Act 1936 received royal assent

The Public Health Act 1936 replaced all previous legislative public health provisions relating to public health matters, disease control, prevention and nuisance removals and inspections.

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Event

The Emergency Medical Service was created at the outbreak of war in 1939

The Emergency Medical Service was introduced in 1939, giving central government a right of direction over voluntary and municipal hospitals.

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Publication

The Report of the inter-departmental committee on social insurance and allied services, more commonly known as the Beveridge report, was published in December 1942

The Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, led by Sir William Beveridge, had been tasked with undertaking a review of social insurance schemes.

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Legislation

The Education Act 1944 made providing school meals and milk a statutory duty for local authorities

Section 49 of the Education Act 1944 allowed the minister of health to require local education authorities (LEAs) to provide milk, meals and other refreshment for pupils in attendance at schools in th

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Publication

A national health service white paper was published in March 1944

The white paper A national health service, published in 1944, detailed the wartime coalition government’s vision for a comprehensive, free and unified health service. It was proposed that this

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Event

The Public Health Laboratory Service was formally established through the National Health Service Act in 1946

Fearing bacteriological warfare during the Second World War, the government set up the Emergency Public Health Laboratory Service (PHSL), which provided support to doctors and medical officers of heal

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Legislation

The National Health Service Act 1946 received royal assent in November 1946

The National Health Service Act 1946 established a comprehensive health service that was free at the point of use and universally available to all.

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Event

The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948

Cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death and serious illness in the UK. The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 to identify common factors that contributed to cardiovascular

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Publication

The Public Health in 1948: remarkable statistics: the first months of the National Health Service report was published

The Public health in 1948: remarkable statistics: the first months of the National Health Service report was published by the Ministry of Health, examining health and mortality outcomes between the in

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Publication

The first report linking smoking to cancer was published in the UK

The consumption of manufactured cigarettes increased significantly in the western world during the first half of the twentieth century (Hutchinson, 2006).

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Legislation

The Clean Air Act 1956 received royal assent

The Clean Air Act of 1956 was passed with the aim of tackling the smog and air pollution created by the burning of coal and industrial activities.

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Event

The contraceptive pill was introduced to the UK in 1961

In 1961 Health Minister Enoch Powell announced that women who wished to have oral contraception would be able to receive it through the NHS and the family planning association (FPA) approved the use o

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Publication

The Royal College of Physicians published its report on the link between smoking and cancer of the lung and other diseases

Building on the research carried out by Richard Doll and Tony Bradford Hill in the 1950s, the Royal College of Physicians published a report on the link between smoking and cancer of the lung and othe

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Event

Birmingham introduced the first substantive water fluoridation scheme in the United Kingdom in 1964

Following pilot schemes, the first substantive water fluoridation scheme commenced in Birmingham in 1964.

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Event

The Abortion Act 1967 legalised abortion under certain conditions

From 1929, the Infant Life Preservation Act had amended the law stating that it would not be an offence to carry out abortion for the sole purpose of preserving the life of the mother.

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Event

From 1967, new cars in the United Kingdom were required to be fitted with front seat belts

From 1965 it had been compulsory for cars built in Europe to be fitted with seat belts, and from 1967 new cars in the United Kingdom were required to be fitted with seat belts in the front seat.

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