Northern Centre for the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities

Pybus: "The Hospital Crisis in Post-War Britain and France: Leeds and Lille, 1918-28"

Added 25 May 2011 | Duration 45 minutes 44 seconds

Prof Barry Doyle, University of Huddersfield

Recent research on English voluntary Hospitals has paid particular attention to the way they met the challenge of the post First World War financial crisis, in particular how a significant gap in operational income in 1920 had been largely filled ten years later, allowing the voluntary system to survive without recurring state support. Historians of hospitals in France, though drawing attention to a similar crisis, have done little to investigate either the causes or the local effects of this situation. This paper will address the way in which hospital managers in Leeds and Lille experienced and responded to the crisis. It will consider the causes of the crisis - including falling subscriptions and donations, severe inflation, under investment economic difficulties, and in Lille occupation and war damage. It will demonstrate the different ways in which urban communities in England and France met the crisis in their hospital systems, the English opting for independence from state control via a switch to direct and indirect payment whilst the French saw increasing involvement by the municipality in funding but at the expense of a series of conflicts which left the council with responsibility but without power.

Barry Doyle is Head of the Department of History, English, Languages and Media at the University of Huddersfield. His research focuses on the politics and management of the urban environment. Building on work on political change in early twentieth century England, especially the city of Norwich, he has moved to look at the provision and control of hospitals in the half century before the inauguration of the NHS. He has published widely in journals, including Medical History, Social History of Medicine and the Historical Journal and has been closely involved in the running of Urban History, the Social History Society and the Economic History Society. He is currently writing a book for Chatto and Pickering on Hospitals in Yorkshire supported by a Wellcome Research Leave Fellowship.

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