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

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St Pancras 1919

Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the year 1919

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child. Cards of advice to expectant mothers have also been distributed
through University College Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, and the Maternity
Nursing Association to those expectants who have arranged for their
confinement through the institutions.
Home Visiting.—This has been done by the health visitors at the Town Hall,
and by the superintendents and visitors at the various centres who are paid by
the Council, and visit the mothers attending the centres, and also such newly
notified births as are referred to them for the purpose by the Medical Officer
of Health.
The Town Hall infant visitors include two full-time health visitors, and two
who are health visitors as to half their time and sanitary inspectors as to the
other half, as well as one other health visitor who devotes her time to the
visiting of cases of measles. These ladies made during the year 3,523 visits
to 1,474 infants (apart from 2,078 visits to cases of measles). They also made
417 visits to 205 expectant mothers, from lists of expectants supplied by
University College and Middlesex Hospitals.
The visitors at the Infant Welfare Centres included 11 full-time officers and
7 part time. Of these 10 full-time and 4 part-time were paid by the Council,
one was a full-time voluntary (trained) worker (Argyle Square group), two parttime
were paid by University College Hospital, and one part-time by the Camden
Town Centre. During 1919 these visitors made 24,599 visits to 3,470 infants,
and 3,975 visits to 1,366 expectant mothers.
The visits made by the Town Hall visitors and the visitors at the centres
therefore numbered in all 28,122 visits to 4,944 infants, and 4,392 visits to
1,571 expectants. The figures for individual cases visited are however, overstated,
owing to occasional instances in which the same case will have been
counted at more than one centre. The total number of visits made in 1919
is almost double those in the previous year.
The figures for home visiting will be found tabulated on page 59.
Maternity and Infant Welfare Centres.—The work done at these institutions
is now fairly well known. It is based primarily on medical consultations
and home visiting. The infants are brought up by the mothers at
intervals; weekly at first, and less frequently as a rule later; and an
endeavour is made to secure their occasional attendance for examination up to
the time of their entraile into a school. At each visit the baby is weighed,
the mother keeping a record of weight-progress, and examined by the doctor,
who interviews and advises the mother. The mother also gets the benefit of
conversation with the skilled workers, voluntary helpers, and the other mothers.
Simple drugs and special foods as ordered are supplied at cost price; special
baby clothing can be purchased; and instruction in general hygiene,
cooking, the making of garments, &c., is provided both by individual
instruction and by means of classes. Mothers and babies needing further
attention are referred to their private doctors or to the clinics at University
College Hospital and St. Pancras Dispensary or to other hospitals and
institutions ; and to the Borough dental clinic. An important feature is the
home-visiting by skilled workers to see that the doctor's instructions are as far
as possible actually carried out. Several or the cantres also have special
consultations for expectant mothers.