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

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London County Council 1901

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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The following extracts from the Annua, Report for 1899 of the St. John Ambulance Association
as regards horse ambulance services are of interest.
"At Birkenhead where the horse ambulance is worked by the fire brigade, the men are all
certificated by the St. John Ambulance Association. The superintendent reports that the ambulance
"has received 433 calls in 1899, all of which have been responded to, being an increase of 43 calls
"compared with the year 1898. The distance travelled was 1,304 miles, or an average of three miles per
"journey, and the work is still increasing owing to the public recognising the advantages of obtaining
"the service of the horse ambulance when accidents occur. At Halifax the horse ambulance has been
"out 198 times, and travelled 620 miles in 1899, and one of the leading surgeons informs me, 'I don't
"know what we should do without it at the infirmary.' In his last annual report the head constable
" of Liverpool states under the heading—
" Services rendered to the public.
"Ambulance work.—The new police horse ambulance system came into operation on the 25th
"April last, and there are now six fully-equipped ambulances, stationed as follows—Royal Infirmary,
"Royal Southern Hospital (the Royal Southern Hospital for the present provide their own ambulance,
"which, however, is worked in harmony with the police system), Northern Hospital, Stanley Hospital,
"Central fire station (for night service) and Old Swan police station (for outlying districts).
"Number of turns out—
" 25th April to December 31st 1,173."
The information as to the area which can be served by one ambulance shows that there is
considerable difference on this point in the different towns. It is possible that explanation of this
is to be found partly, at all events, in the fact that the establishment of horse ambulance services in
this country is a matter of recent date, and that at the present time they are still in an experimental
stage, except, perhaps, in the case of one or two of the larger towns such as Liverpool. Other reasons
which would however account for difference as to the area served, are differences in the character of
the town, such as the amount of heavy traffic and the nature of the industrial occupations and
consequent difference in the number of accidents.
In Liverpool there are five ambulance districts for an area of 13,236 acres, or one ambulance
to about 2,650 acres, assuming that the districts are equal, though this may not be so.
This is the smallest area served by one ambulance, and from this size they range to 22,000
acres in the case of Bradford.

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