The Webbs were convinced that until the state medical services were freed from the crippling restrictions of the Poor Law, the medical staff would remain a second-class service, 2 for the professionalism of the medical staff suffered from the limitations imposed by confusing the treatment of the sick with the discouraging of pauperism. Yet not all the problems of the infirmaries can be attributed to the Poor Law. As growing numbers of helpless people were committed to institutions, the infirmaries had to accept larger numbers of the chronically ill, the incurable, and the dying, whom no other institution would take. The nature of the medical service reflected the type of case it had to treat, and growing specialization in the profession tended to exacerbate the difficulties. ':·For the sake of brevity I use the anachronistic word 'doctor,' though the term was not widely used until the late nineteenth century.