During the nineteenth century, infirmaries had grown rapidly in number following the foundation of the Local Government Board. This was initially resisted with a strong emphasis on the fact that it encouraged pauperism, resulting in the loss of vote for the majority of people who had become paupers.
At the same time, a law was enacted that required people to be paupers before they could use the infirmaries. This firmly entrenched the relationship between health and politics in the minds of the British public. Following the extension of universal suffrage in 1867 and later in 1884 with the subsequent repeal of the above-noted law in 1885, the stigma attached to the demand for a public healthcare system was effectively removed. Eventually, in 1930, local governments were given control of the Poor Law hospitals under the Poor Law Act, and these were subsequently merged with private and voluntary healthcare facilities to form the NHS in 1948.
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