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Report indicates that 'new' welfare reforms hark back to Victorians
Date:3/22/2011

The UK coalition government's planned NHS and welfare reforms, and their use of 'nudge' theory, hark back to ideas on welfare and recession from the end of the nineteenth century, according to studies by a University of Leicester historian whose research paper has recently been published in the Lancet.

Dr Kim Price's article entitled, 'The crusade against out-relief: a nudge from history' is his second in the Lancet within a year drawing parallels between past and present medical negligence.

Dr Price, a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the School of Historical Studies, commented: "Broadly speaking, I am interested in medical negligence under state medicine and I have focused on the pre-NHS (pre-1948) welfare system in the UK.

"The instability of doctor-patient relations has led to a fragile balance of power that is by no means set for the foreseeable future. "The welfare debate has been divided for centuries by ideologically-driven attitudes to philanthropically, privately or publicly funded medicine.

"I see medical negligence as a complex relationship between time and place and, to varying degrees, society, law, ethics, medical practice, health professionals, and patients."

In his paper in the Lancet, Dr Price argues that the UK's Coalition Government has begun to tackle the annual deficit with the language and policy aims from the recession of 1870.

In the late 19th century the Conservatives instigated a policy to cut back welfare expenditure and lessen reliance on poor law out-relief. This included cutting medical extras and payments to lone mothers, widows, the elderly, the chronically sick, and people who were disabled or had mental illness.

The result, Dr Price believes, lowered the health of many families and increased the number of people who could no longer be supported at home.

Dependency was criticised by both government and ratepayers, until by the 1880s the Vic
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Contact: Dr. Kim Price
kp178@leicester.ac.uk
44-116-252-2415
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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