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

View report page

Greenwich 1971

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

This page requires JavaScript

infection only serves to emphasise the clamant need for prevention, an equally difficult task. Health education is a sine qua non
but the mere imparting of knowledge is plainly no deterrent. A
great deal depends upon family and group environment and the
subject's susceptibility to example. A local authority's role is a
limited one, viz. education and assisting in contact tracing the
results of which, unfortunately, leave much to be desired.
In England, venereology is a specialty and its services the best
in the world but, even so, control of sexually transmitted disease
has not been achieved. Our venereal disease centres have served
us well since the Act of 1917 which led to their establishment but
with the present recrudescence of these diseases our specialists,
whose numbers have remained virtually unchanged over the last
10 years, are becoming overwhelmed. In England, at the end of
the year, only 150 doctors were engaged, full-time, in venereology of whom 83 were consultants. What is even more disturbing
is the fact that one third of all registrar and senior registrar
posts, where future consultants are trained, remain vacant.
Although, in this specialty, there is great potential for clinical
and epidemiological research, venereology, as a career, is not a
popular choice. Recruitment to this field of medicine is poor and
may, in part, be related to working conditions. Many clinics are
held in uninviting and depressingly institutionalised premises, often
tucked away in hospital basements, so that the difficulty in
attracting staff is not surprising. Of the 179 clinics surveyed in
England recently, 70 were considered inadequate and we can
hardly expect our specialists to maintain their undoubted high
standards without ample support and modern facilities. It is conceivable that a change of nomenclature from venereology to genito-urinary medicine, a more accurate and less emotive description of the nature of the specialty, would stimulate and encourage
No further national legislation was enacted during the year
under review.
During 1971, the number of Infectious Diseases notified under
Sections 47 to 49 of the Health Services and Public Health Act,
1968. and associated Regulations was 710. Two cases, however,
were not confirmed and the corrected total was therefore 708, a