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

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St Pancras 1932

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

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The Medical Officer of this Special Clinic is paid by the Borough Council. He is
assisted by a Nurse (part-time), the cost of whose services is defrayed as to one-half by the
Committee of the St. Pancras Dispensary and the other half by the Committee of the
Mayoress' Home. During the year the Nurse made 923 visits to the homes of children
under five.
The Dispensary Resident Medical Officer also made numerous home visits to sick
children under five years of age.
The cost of the other work of the Dispensary amongst women and children is defrayed
out of funds from voluntary sources, and is also subsidised by the Ministry of Health.
Convalescent Home Treatment.
(a) The Mayoress of St. Pancras Home for Sick Poor Children.—This is situated
at "Avalon," 1, St. Alban's Road, and accommodates 18 children and the necessary staff.
The age limit for admission is from 18 months to 5 years.
The children are either convalescent after illness, or are weak, badly nourished, etc.,
and require good food, fresh air, and special care.
A large garden is attached to the home and an outdoor playroom has been provided
by the St. Pancras Branch of the Dickens Fellowship.
The staff consists of a Matron, Assistant Matron, three Probationers and a domestic staff
numbering three. A laundry, equipped with electrically-driven machinery, is also attached
to the home.
174 children were admitted during the year, and the average length of stay in the Home
was about 4 weeks.
(b) Children requiring a longer period of convalescence, or who require more skilled
nursing, are sent to various homes by the Invalid Children's Aid Association, and a contribution
towards the cost is made by the Borough Council. Under this scheme 36 children were sent
away during the year.
Supply of Milk to Mothers and Children.
The Borough Council during the year continued to make grants of milk, either free or
at reduced price. As a rule, in the case of expectant mothers, the grants were restricted to
the last three months of pregnancy, and in the case of children to those who were under three
years of age.
Towards the end of 1931 it was considered that there might be an appreciable
amount of overlapping between the Public Assistance Department of the London County
Council through their relief work and the Borough Council's scheme for the supply of milk,
and inquiries showed that in a number of cases grants from the Borough scheme were
made to cases known to be in receipt of relief.
In October, 1931, after careful revision of the situation, the Welfare Centres were
reminded of the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health. These stated, inter alia, that
"milk should be given only where the Medical Officer of Health (or in certain cases the
Medical Officer of the Centre) is satisfied that a supply is essential on the grounds of
health," and "it is the first principle of administration that overlapping with
other bodies concerned in the matter should be absolutely avoided."