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

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Bermondsey 1919

Report on the sanitary condition of the Borough of Bermondsey for the year 1919

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I understand that Guy's Hospital is going to have a ward of
50 beds for children, but I do not think that that need interfere
with the project of having a hospital in Bermondsey for Bermondsey
children. There will be plenty of occupants for both
sets of beds. Many cases of pneumonia) and other acute illnesses
in children have to be treated in most unsuitable homes, to the
detriment of the patients. Nowadays, when both parents are
very often out at work, children are neglected, or left in the
charge of a neighbour, and I have personal knowledge that when
the mother comes home at night, and finds her child very
feverish, she wraps it up in a blanket and takes it to the nearest
practitioner, to find that it has acute pneumonia. There is no
doubt that many deaths are due to treatment of this sort, and
arrangements should be made that the doctor could visit the
house, and, if the child is seriously ill, send it off to the local
hospital, where it would be admitted without delay, and, in this
way, no doubt many lives could be saved.
I hope, therefore, that the War Memorial Committee will
continue their efforts unabated until they get a sufficient sum,
not only to build, but to endow, a small local hospital.
Lying-in Hostel, 110, Grange Road.
In November, 1918, a letter was received from Miss Halford,
Secretary of the National League of Maternity and Child Welfare,
saying that the American Red Cross had offered a considerable
sum for the establishment of Maternity Lying-in
Hostels in a certain number of Boroughs, in which institutions
of this kind were most likely to be needed, and that it had been
suggested to her that such a home might be very useful in Bermondsey,
and further asking if the Council would be prepared
to take over the maintenance after its establishment. In the
event of a favourable answer, the American Bed Cross was prepared
to allocate the sum of £2,000 for the adaptation and
equipment of a suitable home to be known as "The American
Red Cross Maternity Home Hospital," as long as it was subsidised
by the American Red Cross; no part of this money was
to be spent on the purchase of premises, and the Home was to
be worked in connection with an existing hospital, to which