When I first thought of doing research on health assistance in Alcala la Real throughout the twentieth century, I had a wide area which I wanted to study. I wished to know everything related to health at that time: people’s principal health problems, the environmental health, the characteristics of the local health system, its professionals and so on and so forth.
I was interested in so many aspects of my town’s health because, having worked for more than thirty years in its health system, I wanted to analyse the changes it had undergone.
Throughout my work experience, health system changes in particular and societal changes in general have always attracted my attention.
Nevertheless, after a first approach using various sources of information I soon understood that I had to limit myself to my goals, or at least, prioritize them and plan several phases.
Nowadays, having a universal health assistance, to read about so many differences in health assistance between rich and poor people at the beginning of the last century, rapidly drew my interest.
In the absence of the current social security system, doctors used to freely practice their profession, collecting their fees from their patients. However, those poor people who couldn’t pay their professional fees used to ask the local government for the services of the Charity System.
The town council, according to the health law at that time, used to hire some doctors to treat poor people, who were called Designated Doctors.
In the first half of the last century, there were four doctors in the Health Charity System of Alcalá la Real, who were responsible for home health assistance for registered poor people, besides their treatment in the Civil Hospital, a Charity Hospital for poor people managed by a group of nuns.
I began to be interested in the characteristics of those people who were hospitalized there. I wanted to know if their health problems were different from those from which other people suffered, those who were not registered as poor and didn’t use to be treated in that hospital.
For that reason, I focused on those patients.
It temporarily became my goal to study all of the available data about them. However, the search for their causes of mortality led me to look for information in other archives not only de local one.
In this way, I also found some information about health problems and mortality causes of those citizens who weren’t hospitalized there. This information opened my interests again but in a different and specific way.
Therefore, under the category called Methodology in this blog, you will find different aspects related to the process of my research, some specific targets I have set, in addition to the materials and methods I am using.
I hope that you will find them of interest.