The birth of British geriatric medicine and its struggle for survival as a medical specialty

Geriatric medicine in Britain was born in the setting of a former poor law workhouse in London. Its early pioneers developed models of geriatric services and instigated research into the diseases pertinent to older people. Government initiatives championed the establishment of geriatric units but denied geriatric medicine the status of a clinical medical specialty. Despite an unfavourable image within the medical profession, medical services for older people flourished under the National Health Service to become one of the largest groups of medical specialties.