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

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Wandsworth 1972

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Wandsworth, Metropolitan Borough]

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Regrettably it proved necessary to end the regular screening
clinic at the William Harvey Centre owing to the poor attendances,
in part at least attributable to the difficult geographical location,
but this setback was offset by the inclusion of a weekly session
in the programme of the new Doddington Child Health Centre
which opened early in the year. Although the number of women
screened at our regular centres fell slightly - 2,409 examinations
undertaken compared with 2,533 the previous year - the clinics
continued to be well attended. The average number of seven
patients seen at each session gave the doctor sufficient time for
obtaining a good history of previous health, and carrying out a
full gynaecological and breast examination. It also allowed for
general health counselling.
Some general practitioners in the borough prefer to provide a
cervical cytology service themselves, but the majority advise
and encourage their patients to attend the Council's clinics.
During the year, approximately four women in every thousand
screened were found to have a positive cervical smear. Once
again the detection of minor but nonetheless frequently troublesome
infections or abnormalities proved an important by-product
of cervical cytological screening, such conditions being present
in nearly one-third of the women who attended the clinics in 1972.
Although no case of malignancy was detected, the discovery
of less serious abnormalities in 32 women underlined the value
of routine palpation of the breast as part of the overall screening
examination conducted in the cervical cytology clinics. In
addition much anxiety regarding the possible presence of a
malignant growth is relieved, particularly in those women who
have a family history of breast cancer.
Detailed statistical information for 1972 (including the factory
screening results) is given in the following table:-


Number of sessions held each week7
Total number of women examined2,409
Total number of sessions held323
Average number of women examined at each session7
Total number of cases cytologically and clinically negative (healthy women)1,687
Total number of cases with morbid conditions722
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