Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New voluntary hospitals database

We are delighted to report that further value has been added to the Wellcome/National Archives Hospital Records Database with the creation of links to information in the Wellcome Trust-supported Voluntary Hospitals Database of the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (located at http://www.hospitalsdatabase.lshtm.ac.uk/) in the entries for individual hospitals.

This new database provides a rich resource of statistical data relating to Voluntary Hospitals between the 1890s and the inception of the NHS. Prior to the NHS, voluntary hospitals, inaugurated by private philanthropy and supported by subscription, were (alongside poor law, later local authority, infirmaries) one of the major sources for access to hospital care by the general public who were unable to afford private treatment. They included major teaching hospitals and specialist institutions.

Hosprec itself continues to be updated as we receive additional information on the records of hospitals in repositories throughout the UK. It currently includes data on the records of over 2500 individual hospitals of all types. The public interface on The National Archives website is searchable by hospital name and town. Pending an upgrade of this search interface, researchers who are interested in searching the database under other criteria, including combinations of different fields, should contact Archives and Manuscripts at the Wellcome Library, archs+mss@wellcome.ac.uk

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