The chapter examines the changes to the dominion of nursing work on active service overseas. The chapter first explores the extensions to the nursing role, most particularly the care of wounds and burns. This is followed by a discussion of the expansion of nursing duties into those that had hitherto been the domain of medicine. These roles include the commencement and management of blood transfusions, surgical work and anaesthesia. Finally the chapter considers ‘new work’, the most critical of which was the administration and use of penicillin. The constantly shifting requirements of war nursing prevented Army nurses from remaining in a professional comfort zone of accepted roles and regimes. The experience of living with uncertainty may have caused anxieties for some, but the active participation in new treatment modalities suggests that nurses who went to war were keen to move beyond the normal boundaries of nursing practice and many relished the opportunity to do so. The chapter argues that the developments in practice and the increased confidence nursing sisters displayed with this new work altered their working relationships with medical officers from one of deference to one of collegiality, enabling more productive decisions for their soldier-patients’ care.
Military success in war was contingent on men sustaining a determination to fight. Persuading men to continue fighting or returning them to combat after illness or injury depended on maintaining their morale. The use of female nurses in upholding this resolve was integral to the war effort. The chapter explores the value of the presence of women in hospital wards and in social environments on active service overseas. It considers the occasional antipathy of military authorities and male colleagues to the location of female nurses in war zones. However, it is argued through the provision of expert clinical care, domestic acumen and the use of their ‘female-selves’, nurses were able to salvage men in readiness to return to battle. Nursing sisters thus created a space for themselves in frontline duties. However, the chapter argues, this was not without its difficulties. As single, white women in far-flung places, this position situated nurses in a liminal place between the respectable European colonial wife and the ‘biohazardous’ local women. The chapter acknowledges these difficulties, but also demonstrates how the nurses negotiated their way through these contradictions to their advantage and for those in their care.
The chapter considers the civilian world into which the Q.A.s returned at the end of the war and explores the options they faced. It begins with the immediate aftermath of war and the opportunities for interesting and worthwhile work that would only exacerbate the nursing sisters’ difficulties on demobilisation. This is followed by a consideration of the return to Britain and the options open for professional practice. The chapter argues that for some the option of interesting work remained, either in the colonial service or the military. However the main professional opening for returning nurses was the crisis ridden civilian hospital system that wanted and recruited cheap, malleable workers; this was not an attractive choice for demobbed nursing sisters. The chapter argues that despite nursing being a female dominated profession, the ideology that encouraged women to return to the home in the aftermath of war had significant ramifications for demobilised nurses. The social structure precluded married women from working outside the home and funds for postgraduate training available to returning male doctors were not offered to nurses. As the chapter maintains, most nursing sisters married, leaving the profession without their considerable talents and new ways of practicing.
The chapter maps the nursing practices on active service overseas that recovered men including, body care, feeding work, the management of pain and support for the dying. These four areas of nursing practice are commonly associated with nursing work, yet, as the chapter argues, in war zones, they demanded complex gendered negotiations. Comfort care placed the single female nurse too close to the naked male body and feeding work was allied to mothering, rather than professional practice. In the absence of sufficient medical officers in a war zone, pain relief demanded the development of scientific skills of diagnosis and prescription. The chapter examines how the nurses managed these contradictions to develop an understanding of the critical role of fundamental nursing care and create a space for themselves as experts by the bedside.
This chapter analyses the emergence of clinical and public health concerns with non-infectious disease in Britain during the immediate post-war decades, and examines the implications for the expanding diabetes care team. It suggests that central government’s concern with chronicity during the 1950s and 1960s primarily related to the resource demands of the ‘chronic sick’ – a term used to refer to institutionalised populations of elderly and infirm patients. However, these decades also saw clinicians and public health practitioners begin to discuss chronic illness in new ways and with reference to different demographics. Spurred on by the creation of the NHS and the development of new investigatory techniques, public health doctors and service providers increasingly debated the social, economic, and medical challenges of chronic diseases in younger and middle-aged patients, and experimented with new forms of service organisation. In diabetes, clinics of the 1940s and 1950s responded to a renewed interest in the ‘social’ dimension of care by expanding educative roles for dietitians and nursing staff, and by attaching health visitors and district nurses to their teams. With expanded teams came greater emphasis on bureaucratic co-ordination within the hospital. Eventually, however, resource constraints and rising patient numbers encouraged more radical schemes of GP-based co-ordinated care into the 1960s and 1970s.
This chapter traces the development of standards documents in British diabetes care from the late 1970s to early 1990s. It argues, firstly, that the nature of guidance shifted dramatically over this period, gradually encompassing process and outcome standards, and setting standards for care and audit that encompassed proxies of managerial performance. New instruments thus opened care to external management, and challenged traditional views about clinical decision-making. Secondly, the chapter suggests that the growing role of elite professional and international organisations in guideline creation and audit marked the beginning of a more fundamental shift in the organisation of British medicine, one structured by political, cultural, and social trends but nonetheless driven in part by medical practitioners themselves. Amid decades of academic, popular, and political critique of medical practice and professional accountability, bodies like the Royal Colleges and World Health Organization moved to more tightly manage local practitioners in pursuit of ‘quality’ care. Though not all rank-and-file practitioners supported the proliferation of standards or the increasing role played by elite agencies in their creation and audit, by the early 1990s a growing professional and political consensus was growing around their centrality in securing quality medicine.
This chapter examines the development of new forms of general-practice-based diabetes management over the last quarter of the twentieth century. Although GPs had retained responsibility for ongoing patient care after 1948, the creation of the NHS consolidated the dominant role of the specialist clinic in post-war diabetes management. During the 1970s and 1980s, however, hospital clinicians and GPs began to devise more formal systems of structured and integrated diabetes care, with GPs assuming greater roles in disease management. For clinicians, deputing responsibilities to GPs offered a way to manage patient loads and increasing demands for surveillance in a context of constrained resources, and enabled consultants to refocus on challenging work. For GPs, new forms of care dovetailed with emerging professional projects connected with distinguishing GPs from hospital practitioners and moving GPs into team-based, proactive preventive health work. By the early 1990s, the Royal Colleges, the British Diabetic Association, the Department of Health, and international organisations all supported the increasing role of primary care practitioners in diabetes care. Medical politics, resource distribution, and epistemic change had once again combined to reshape approaches to diabetes management and reposition it as a form of long-term risk prevention.
The Epilogue sets the developments in diabetes management explored over the preceding six chapters against changes in chronic disease care more generally, and considers the story of British professional management in relation to international and present-day comparators. In so doing, it returns to themes and questions laid out in the Introduction, reflecting on diabetes’ historic position as a model chronic condition, considering the post-war changes in medical professionalism, and drawing out the connections between chronic disease and professional management in modern medicine. It concludes with a reflection on the relationship between historians and historical writing, and a consideration of future policy for diabetes care and health services management.
The Introduction sets the arguments of the book in historical and historiographical context. It argues that the predominant frameworks for assessing the emergence of managerial approaches to medicine, though insightful, have downplayed the central role of doctors and their organisations in co-constructing new systems and relationships in partnership with the central British state. Thus, whilst acknowledging that professional management was underpinned and driven by a broader set of technological, cultural, social, and political changes, the Introduction nonetheless suggests that the work of elite and academic practitioners was central to constructing managed medicine. Similarly, it proposes that, though possessing peculiarities, diabetes care’s historical status as a ‘model’ of healthcare management makes it a productive lens through which to reassess the history of managed medicine in Britain, and to explore the connections between chronic disease management and professional management. It concludes by outlining the power of a single-disease, single-country study for generating useful insights for future comparative work.
This chapter explores how managerial medicine emerged as government policy during the 1980s and early 1990s. Institutionally, it argues that a new consensus around guidelines and audit systems was founded upon post-war policy networks connecting senior British diabetologists, government bodies, and international organisations. Personnel continuities between committees ensured agreement across local, national, and international levels. Conceptually and politically, by contrast, it locates government interest in a growing influence of neoliberal political analyses on policy-making, and in attempts to control costs and make healthcare operate more like a market. Although professional and governmental projects were often politically misaligned, both parties saw benefits in co-operation and actively sought collaboration. Diabetes management – and chronic disease management more broadly – lay at the centre of new initiatives due to cost implications, cross-institutional reach, and the well-developed managerial and policy-making architectures that had been developed over the past three decades. Such conditions made long-term diseases like diabetes ideal constructs on which to pilot new forms of work.