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Healthcare and the social entrepreneur


Healthcare campaigning is a passion of mine, and I was delighted to be invited to the recent screening of ‘Ahead of its Time’ at Bafta HQ, which documents the history of the Benenden Healthcare Society.


It is the riveting and moving story of one young man’s crusade to bring about social justice in the brutally unjust and class-divided Victorian and Edwardian eras. His feat resulted in the saving of many, many lives and still benefits our healthcare system today.


Once upon a time in the late 1800s, a certain post office telegrapher by the name of Charles Garland worked happily alongside his colleagues at the Royal Mail sorting office in Central London.


however and soon his mates were disappearing one-by-one.


20 entrepreneurcountry


these strapping young men were not changing careers, nor eloping with their girlfriends, but were being brutally thrust on a long, slow and painful march to the cemetery.


Around the turn of the century was a bumper harvest for


the greedy


reaper of TB and under its savage and unremitting scythe,


thousands


The good times didn’t last Tragically,


were losing their lives annually. Postal workers were one of the groups at greatest risk, as grubby postal sacks dragged along filthy, spit-ridden railway station platforms and through the dank and grimy corridors sorting offices acted as a conduit for contagion of an


already lethally infectious organism. And to add insult to injury, it was prior to the creation of the welfare state and TB treatment was expensive and thus inaccessible to most post office clerks. In the stark contrast, the wealthy were treated at five star healthcare facilities in the likes of Swiss Mountains and the Scottish Highlands, whereas the poor, sans benefits, were often condemned to death in dirty, dark inner-city sanatoria.


Probably unable to tolerate his anger and frustration any longer, Charles Garland immersed himself in years of campaigning within the post office


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