Accusations of personal negligence that mask structural weaknesses and systemic failure; funding cuts that exacerbate pre-existing problems of welfare provision and increase the likelihood of mismanagement and malpractice: the scene is all too familiar in the present day but, as this scholarly and richly researched book shows, it has deeper historical resonance. Set in the context of the crusade against outdoor relief in the 1870s and 1880s, when there was a significant tightening of poor law provision and subsequent reduction of expenditure, this book explores the impact of these policy changes on treatment for the sick poor. Not surprisingly, one of the outcomes of the squeeze on funding was that cases of medical negligence increased and standards of care dropped. Why this happened and how paupers, individual medical officers, local poor law officials and central government inspectors responded are the key issues...

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