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

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Finsbury 1960

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Finsbury Borough]

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It is difficult to estimate the extent of overcrowding in the
borough - either overcrowding based on the purely legal standard or
what may well be considered to be overcrowding of families living in
cramped conditions necessitating the use of kitchens as bedrooms, but
not legally overcrowded. At the beginning of 1957 a register was
started of overcrowded families, coming to the notice of the Department.
Since then, details of some 113 families have been recorded, in 35 of
which the overcrowding was subsequently abated by rehousing, Generally
speaking however, serious overcrowding is much reduced, and the majority
of cases coming to the notice of the department are only overcrowded
to the extent of ½ to 1 unit.
Three new instances of wilful overcrowding came to light during
the year. In each case strongly worded letters were sent to the landlord
and tenant, and in each instance the overcrowding was subsequently
Applications for rehousing by the Borough Council are made to the
Housing Manager and these have been assessed for some years according
to a points scheme. When accompanied by medical certificates to
support the application on medical grounds, these have been referred
to the Medical Officer of Health. Enquiries are then made by the
Nurse/Visitor into the detailed nature of the family health, and the
apparent bearing on this of the accommodation in use, and when desirable
an inspection is carried out by the Public Health Inspector*
These reports are then correlated with the medical certificates,
and a degree of medical priority is then allotted.

During the five years applications have been dealt with as follows:

New cases.870(80)
Cases reconsidered on new
medical certificates.566(55)
Cases reconsidered.66(3)
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(The figures in brackets are those for 1960),
Applications for rehousing by the London County Council are made
to that body. Reports are sometimes asked for and supplied in regard
to the existing overcrowding and sanitary defects. A very limited
number are granted medical priority allocated by the County Medical
Officer of Health.

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