News | Published:

State Medicine1

Nature volume 24, pages 370375 | Download Citation



FIRST a few words on what may be called the general theory of our subject-matter. The term “State Medicine” corresponds to the supposition that, in certain cases, the Body-Politic will concern itself with the health-interests of the people—will act, or command, or deliberate, or inquire, with a view to the cure or the prevention of disease. Before any such supposition can be effectively realised, the science of medicine—that is to say, the exact knowledge of means by which disease may be prevented or cured—must have reached a certain stage of development; and unless the science be supposed common to all persons in the State, the existence of State medicine supposes a special class of persons whom the unskilled general public can identify as presumably possessing the required knowledge. Thus, given the class of experts to supply the required exact knowledge, the Body-Politic undertakes that, within the limits of its own constitutional analogies, it will make the knowledge useful to the community.


  1. 1.

    âœEleventh Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Councilâ, 1869, pp. 20, 21.

Download references

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing