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

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St Pancras 1923

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, Metropolitan Borough]

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The school children included in the above table have, in the main, been brought to
the cleansing station from the public elementary schools by officials of the London County
Council as the Education Authority, under the powers conferred upon them by their General
Powers Act, 1907, Sec. 36, and the Children Act, 1908, Sec. 122. In respect of cases of
pediculosis in school children dealt with in this way, payment is made by the County Council
to the Borough Council at the rate of 2s. per child cleansed. In these cases, an intensive
method of dealing with the hair is employed, whereby the operation of disinfestation is
limited in many cases to one cleansing only. The payment in respect of children suffering
from scabies, who generally receive a series of baths, is 1s. per bath. 4,812 cases were paid
for during the year at the rate of 2s. per case, and 1,015 cleansings at the rate of Is. per
School children with head lice have also been dealt with by the London County Council
at the Prince of "Wales Road clinic.
Fifty-two verminous persons from common lodging houses outside the borough were paid
for by the London County Council, at the rate of Is. per attendance, and three by Finsbury
Borough Council.
Apart from the above-mentioned classes of cases, in respect of which payment is
received from other authorities, any verminous person resident in St. Pancras is dealt with
without payment.
Disinfection of Yermtnous Articles.—Very useful new powers in this respect have
been conferred on Metropolitan Borough Councils by Section 9 of the London County Council
(General Powers) Act, 1922, which enables the borough council to disinfect or destroy,
compulsorily, not only articles which are verminous, filthy, dangerous, or unwholesome or
likely to endanger health or promote infectious disease, but also any articles which are likely fo
be verminous by reason of having leen used by any person infested with vermin. These powers are
exercisable on a report from the Medical Officer of Health, and the definition of verminousness
includes scabies, as well as lice, bugs and fleas. They are much more useful than the
corresponding provisions in Section 19 of the London County Council (General Powers) Act,
1904, which only dealt with articles which the Medical Officer of Health could certify as being
filthy, dangerous or unwholesome, or likely to endanger health or promote infectious disease.
The latter section was not found a convenient means of securing the disinfection of bedding,
&c., used bv the verminous persons, chiefly school children, dealt with at the cleansing station.
The new Act was promoted as the result of a Conference on the subject, called by the London
County Council on February 25th, 1922.
The procedure which has been adopted in St. Pancras is as follows Every morning a
list is received from the Matron of the cleansing station of all cases of scabies and body lice,
and all bad cases of head lice, and a notice is sent by post forthwith to the responsible person,
informing him that the Council's staff will call for the bedding and clothing used by the
verminous person. Next day these articles are fetched from the house by the disinfecting
staff, and after disinfection are returned on the same or following day.
Inspections.—Altogether 66,164 inspections were made in 1923 by the staff of Inspectors
and Visitors. These consisted of 31,732 initial inspections and 34,432 re-inspections.
Of these inspections, 40,437 were made by the District Sanitary Inspectors, 7,115 by
the Sanitary Inspectors of Food and Food places, 3,144 by the Sanitary Inspector of

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