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Fit to Practice : Empire, Race, Gender, and the Making of British Medicine, 1850-1980 (Hardcover)

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Fit to Practice proposes a new narrative of the making of the modern British medical profession, situating it in relation to the imperatives and tensions of national and imperial interests. The narrative is interwoven with the institutional history of the General Medical Council (GMC), the main regulatory body of the medical profession. The GMC's management of the medical register from 1858 to 1980 offers important insight into the political underpinning of the profession, particularly when it came to regulating who was fit to practice medicine, under what conditions, and where. Technically, admission to the British medical register endowed all doctors with common rights and privileges. Yet the differential treatment of women in the nineteenth century, Jewish medical refugees during World War II, and Indian doctors both before and after decolonization reveals the persistence of hierarchies of gender, national identity, and race in determining who was fit to practice British medicine. Part 1 of the book, which spans from 1858 to 1948, focuses on the transformation of the British Empire from a destination for the surplus production of domestic medical graduates to a critical source of medical labor for Britain during wartime. Part 2 examines the postwar causes and critical source of medical labor for Britain during wartime. Part 2 examines the postwar causes and consequences of the unprecedented globalization of the domestic profe

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