29 March 2019

29th March 1932 - Mental Hospital Pioneer remembered


On 29th March 1932 it was announced that Professor George M Robertson had died. He was the physician superintendent at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for mental and nervous disorders and professor of psychiatry in the University of Edinburgh.

He said that the laws of lunacy, passed seventy years before, were repellent... 'they deal with the treatment of sick persons, yet they were drawn up by lawyers.' He was one of the pioneers of the movement for the 'hospitalisation' of the asylums and renamed The Royal Edinburgh Asylum for the Insane into The Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases. In his time in charge, from 1908, a place of detention was turned into a hospital where treatment was voluntary (in over half of cases).

On his initiative female nurses were introduced, and a matron placed in charge of them. This was so successful other large institutions copied the practice.

Thanks to the Edinburgh Evening News - Tuesday 29 March 1932 - and British Newspaper Archive for the date.

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