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.

The following statement shows the results of treat-ment for the year ended 31st July, 1912.

AgreementNumber of cases provided for under agreementNumber of cases tr.ated.All ailments.Eye cases.Ear, nose'and throat cases.
At'ended until lischarged.Ceased a'tendance before dischargedNo treatment requbed or treatment not possible.Still attending.Cases in which no nfor at on is available(6)(7)Operation performed.After care— (a) Nursing treatment obtained. (b) Convalescent home. (c) Other arrang merits. (a) (b)(c)
Ear,nose and throat10,3309,8146,6491,0553171,75934......5,6741,72916419
Minor ailments40517...341............• ••......
... ... ...28,02027,64719,3163,0921.0693.78039010,1888,4015,6141,72916419

It will be seen that during the year provision existed for the treatment of 28,020 children, and that
the number of children who attended the hospitals and centres was 27,647. Dealing with the ailments
separately, provision was made for the treatment of 16,620 eye cases, and the number attending was
16,670; of ear, nose and throat cases, the numbers were respectively 10,330 and 9,814; of ringworm
cases, 1,030 and 1,112; and of minor ailments, 40 and 51. The percentages of cases failing to complete
treatment were 13.5 in eye cases, 13.6 in ear, nose and throat cases, and 20.3 in ringworm cases.
Of the 10,188 children who have been prescribed spectacles 8,401 (or 82.4 per cent.) have obtained them.
This percentage is very satisfactory, more especially when it is pointed out that only cases where definite
information has been available have been included as having obtained glasses. Some notes on the
visual defects of children referred for treatment based on the observations of Mr. Bishop Harman will
be found on pages 82-86.
Of the 9,814 children treated in the ear, nose and throat departments, 5,674 children were
operated upon, and in 1,729 cases nursing assistance was provided by voluntary nursing associations.
The treatment obtained at the hospitals and centres was supplemented in other ways in 435 cases.
In connection with the facilities for dental treatment Mr.C.E.Wallis reports as follows :—
As will be seen from the table given later much development in the provision of dental treatment
for elementary school children in London has taken place since the date of the last report. Whereas
at the end of July, 1912, there were but six dental treatment centres, there are now (July, 1913) thirteen
centres in actual working order and negotiations are in progress for the establishment of several more
in such populous districts as Woolwich, Battersea, Westminster, Notting-dale and elsewhere. The
general scheme of development of these centres has been found to work well and the information gained
at the earlier centres has enabled the later ones to be opened and equipped on a uniform and satisfactory
basis. The experience of the London centres shows clearly that the plan of a gradual development of
dental treatment facilities in London is in every respect a wise one. Good school dentists are by no
means easily found, and it would be incurring a great risk to open simultaneously a large number of
centres with little or no prospect of staffing them in a really satisfactory manner. The number of
applicants for these appointments in London is not large and the number of suitable candidates is at the
present time comparatively small. If these appointments remain popular the supply will in all
probability grow in proportion to the demand.
The general policy in London has been to establish a complete scheme in which preventive and
curative treatment may be developed side by side. It is essential that every opportunity should be
taken of instructing and interesting parents and teachers as well as their children in the care of the teeth
and in all the London developments this point has constantly been borne in mind as will be shown later.
School dental inspection.—When the location of a new dental centre has been decided upon,
schools within a radius of half a mile or so are shown upon a sketch map of the district and from the
schools contained in this area the centre is supplied with cases. The number of contributory schools
varies from 12 to 24. According to the needs of each centre the inspecting dentist attached thereto makes
a weekly or fortnightly inspection as required and So secures an adequate supply of cases to be treated.
The dental inspections usually begin at about 9.45 a.m. and at 11.30 a.m. the parents who have been
previously invited to be present are addressed by the inspecting dentist on the care of the teeth. A
member of the care committee is invited to be present at the inspection and one of the organisers is
also present, who, there and then, after obtaining the written consent of the parents, gives out dental
appointment vouchers. This plan has been found to work admirably, and since its initiation very little
difficulty has been experienced in obtaining an adequate attendance of children for treatment. In
such districts as Poplar and Deptford, where the population is largely of a migratory character,
difficulty from time to time arises, but even in these districts improvement continues to take place.
The inspections are confined to children aged 6, 7 and 8 years of age, as it is considered that