‘Boy’ Clerks and Scottish Health Administration, 1867–1956

Ian Levitt

in Medicine, Law and Public Policy in Scotland

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9781845861162
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9781474406222 | DOI:
‘Boy’ Clerks and Scottish Health Administration, 1867–1956

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This chapter critically assesses the administrative structure and technical ability of the management of Scottish public health in the period 1867-1956. It considers the attempts of the Scottish Health Boards (1910-1928) and Department (1929-56) to engage the popular and medical agendas and ensure the delivery of a ‘modernised’ and non-discriminatory system of health care. It is based on detailed research of the administrative and technical (medical, engineering and architectural) structure of the Boards and Department, as well as the quality of the personnel appointed. Three key issues are addressed. First, did the clerical basis and structure of the service lower the intellectual ability of the boards and department to comprehend Scottish conditions and changes in popular opinion towards meeting needs? Second, did the clerical basis of the service lower the intellectual quality of argument used in minutes, draft Cabinet papers and official correspondence sufficiently to impact on Scottish arguments for improved provision? Finally, what was the impact of the administrative changes introduced after 1929 in dealing with these same issues?

Keywords: Scotland; Public health; Civil service

Chapter.  8837 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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