Royal Public Dispensary of Edinburgh

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Coordinates: 55°56′56″N 3°11′24″W / 55.949°N 3.190°W / 55.949; -3.190 The Public Dispensary of Edinburgh is regarded as the first free-of-charge hospital in Scotland. It gave rise to both the first Department of General Practice and, in 1963, the first Chair of General Practice in the world, both at the University of Edinburgh.[1]

The public dispensary was founded in 1776 by physician Andrew Duncan (1744–1828), who provided the impoverished in the city with free medical advice. Their individual cases were presented to medical students taught by Duncan.

The dispensary received a royal charter on 13 January 1818, becoming the Royal Public Dispensary of Edinburgh.


  1. ^ Thomson, Donald M (1983). "General practice and the Edinburgh Medical School: 200 years of teaching, care and research". Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. 33 (701): 9–12. PMC 1959640free to read. PMID 6363687.