London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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St Pancras 1918

Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the year 1918

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Payment for Medical Help to Midwives.—On July 25th, 1017, the Council
decided to pay medical practitioners upon a tixed scale when they are called
in bv midwives to mothers in connection with confinements, or to new-born
children, and the family are unable to pay the medical fee.
The scale of payment was as follows: One Guinea for a normal confinement,
and Two Guineas for a confinement presenting special difficulty, or requiring
operative interference, including, in each case, the necessary subsequent at'endances,
and for calls not for the confinement itself, but before or after confinement:
5s. for the first visit (10s. 6d. if between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.) ard 2s. fid.
for each subsequent visit. Later a fee of One Guinea to a doctor called in to
administer an a aesthetic was added to the scale.
During 1918 (including a few 1918 cases paid for early in 1919) payment
was made to doctors under this scheme in 50 cases, the total payments
being £60 11s.
In 40 instances the attention of the doctor was required for the mother, the
particular emergencies being as follows:—
Difficult or complicated labour 17
Retained placenta 5
Ruptured perineum 5
After stillbirth 4
Pyrexia or septic infection 3
Miscarriage 2
Haemorrhage 2
Illness after confinement 2
In 10 cases the doctor was called in to the infant, the particular emergencies
being as follows:—
Premature birth 6
Ophthalmia neonatorum 3
Icterus neonatorum 1
The Midwives Act, 1918, placed the duty of making payments of this kind
on the Local Supervisory Authority under the Midwives Act (in London, the
London County Council) as from the end of 1918: and the effect of this was
that the work of the Borough Council in this direction, which was going on
s noothly and satisfactorily, was stopped at the end of the year and transferred
to the County Council.
Work By Voluntary Agencies in Connection with Mothers and
Young Children not paid for by the Borough Council.
Home Helps.—The need for domestic assistance for women in sickness and
childbirth had long been felt, and, towards the end of 1917, a small fund, collected
for the purpose by ladies of the south St. Pancras War Pensions Committe
, was put at the disposal of Miss Bibby, and a committee was formed, of
which the Medical Officer of Health was made Chairman, and Miss Bibby,
Hon. Secretary, for the purpose of putting a scheme into operation. Earlier
in the War a considerable number of Helps had been employed in this connection
by the Home Helps Committee of the Womens' Employment Committee,
organised by the Prince of Valea' Fund-