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

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Lewisham 1967

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

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Lectures and Talks
Were given by members of the staff on the work of the District Nurse and various
subjects closely linked with their work.
Visits to the District Nursing Service
Visits were paid by a varying number of interested visitors including research interviewers,
wardens and matrons of old people's homes, social workers, pupil midwives,
student nurses from local hospitals and eleven medical students from London Teaching
Hospitals.
Patient Care
Over 2,000 more visits were paid in 1967, than in the previous year. 2,915 new patients
were visited of whom 1,836 were over 65 years of age. The number of patients who
only require injections grows less and many heavy exacting cases are nursed at home.
These take considerable time and often require two nurses to attend together.
The lack of any relatives to help with elderly confused patients means that the
Nursing Staff are often under severe strain.
Equipment
The issue of disposable nursing equipment assists the nursing staff by saving time and
energy and is greatly appreciated.
Disposable incontinence pads are used in increasing quantities, and the incontinent
laundry service is in demand for many cases.
The lending of equipment especially commodes goes up each year, especially as the
number of geriatric cases increases.
Liaison Scheme with General Practitioners
Towards the end of the year arrangements were made for five district nursing sisters
and one male charge nurse to work more closely with the family doctors. These nurses
visit the surgery twice a week, at an agreed time, and using one of the consulting
rooms see any patients who require, or can be given treatment there. The doctor is
present for a short time during the visit. This scheme enables doctor and district
nurse to discuss any patients on his list that she or her colleagues in the group are
visiting as well as the patients she may attend in the surgery.
Liaison with the Hospital Service
Following a suggestion from the Orthopaedic Surgeon at Lewisham Hospital, a
scheme was devised to help the busy and overworked Casualty Department, and
therefore benefit the patients who attend there. It was decided that certain groups of
patients could be saved return visits if further treatment, for example the removal of
stitches, could be done at home by the district nurses. In particular elderly patients
who would need Ambulance or Car transport, or the mother of very young children
would be saved the journey. The scheme commenced in October, and is progressing
slowly and steadily.
Special Liaison Schemes
The Tripartite scheme for the earlier diagnosis of breast cancer arranged between
King's College Hospital, a practitioner in Forest Hill, and the Local Health Authority
Nursing Staff came to a conclusion in August, 1967. During the year 600 women
attended for "screening", and five cases of breast cancer were discovered.
In an effort to assist the Mental Health Section district nurses visited a number of
E.S.N, and mentally handicapped children and young people.
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