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

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London County Council 1912

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

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Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
It is noteworthy that at routine examinations in Bethnal-green and Shoreditch the parents of
71 and 67 per cent. of the children were present at the school. In Holborn the percentage was lowest
at 49 per cent.
Reference to the tables in the appendix (XII.) shows that 35.5 per cent. of the children
examined in detail were regarded by the school doctor as requiring treatment, whilst amongst special
and urgent cases the percentage was 64.2. The percentage of cases referred for treatment varies
from 55.6 in Woolwich, 47.4 in Southwark and 45.6 in Shoreditch, to 21.3 in Stoke Newington,
24.3 in Lewisham and 26.2 in Kensington.

The time devoted by the doctors, nurses and teachers to the examination of children is as follows:—

No. examined during school hours.Time of doctor in hours.Time per child.Time of nurse in hours.Time per child.Time of teacher in hours.Time per child.
251,38025,3146 minutes34,9228.3 minutes23,3505.6 minutes

The heights and weights of children of the two special age groups, 8-9 and 11-12 years, are
recorded, but as the figures for 1912 are not yet available, those for 1911 are here shown. In making
comparisons it must be noted that the age group 8-9 relates to children born in 1903 and reaching
the age of eight during the year 1911. A child born in January, 1903, would be approaching
nine years of age at the end of 1911, and a child born in December, 1903, would be little more than
seven in the early part of 1911. For purposes of comparison it has been assumed that the children
aged 8-9 are born in the middle of the year 1903, and reach the age of eight in the middle of 1911.
The time of examination must also be considered and it must be pointed out that the " leavers "
were mostly examined in the early part of the year, and the 8-9 group were examined at periods ranging
evenly over the whole year. Further reference to the question of heights and weights will be found on
page 11.
Vision. —The sight of children of ages 8-9 and of "leavers" is tested by means of the
Snellen types at six metres distant. During the first two terms the school doctor reported whether
the vision was seriously defective or not, but during the third term the actual result of the test was furnished
; it will be noted that during this term some 38,000 children or about 60 per cent. failed to
read the type at six metres. In a large proportion of these cases the vision was only slightly below
normal and the children were not considered to require glasses. 7,805 cases, were noted for treatment
for eyes during this term, and these included cases of disease and squint as well as cases of defective
vision. (See Appendix XII.)
The number of cases of squint apart from defective vision, viz., 1,457, is shown for the third
term (Appendix X. and XII.). This figure represents 1.6 per cent. of the children examined.

During the year 1912 children to the number of 251,380 were medically inspected as follows:—

Entrants.Leavers.Age 8—9.Special Senior.Special Infants.

Mental Condition.— During the third term the mental condition of children age 8-9 and "leavers"
was classed under four headings as to varying degrees of intelligence; l=bright; 2=fair; 3=dull;
4—backward; included in group 4 are 43 children reported to be mentally defective. The totals for
London are as follows:—
Age 8-9. Leavers.
Boys. Girls. Boys. Girls.
1 6,264 6,864 2,201 2,093
2 15,316 14,867 4,251 4,248
3 2,794 2,658 591 508
4 427 351 70 57
24,801 24,740 7,113 6,906
Tonsils and
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids.— Of the 240,764 children examined in detail (see Appendix XII.)
23,166, or nearly 10 per cent. were found with enlarged tonsils and 15,257, or 6 per cent., were found
with adenoids. Of these, 21,826 were referred for treatment. The cases for treatment for adenoids or
tonsils formed 9.1 per cent. of the children examined. The proportion amongst entrants was
just under 10 per cent., and this declined to 8.7 per cent. among children in the age group
8-9, and further declined to 8.3 percent. among the children in the age group 11-12. This
decline is probably due to the fact that some of the children in the later age groups have
already been treated either as special cases or in the earlier age group. The complaint seems to be