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

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London County Council 1934

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

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Special units in hospitals.
In certain of the general hospitals there are special units for branches of medical
and surgical work which are of such a specialised nature that it is not convenient
or economical to establish a unit for them at every hospital. Special units have
also been established from time to time for research in the treatment of certain
diseases. The reasons for the establishment of such special units were summarised
in the Annual Report for 1932 (Volume IV, Part I, p. 37).
The arrangements for the following special branches of medicine and surgery
have been continued during the year and very valuable work has been performed:—
(i) plastic surgery ; (ii) radium therapy ; (iii) chronic rheumatoid diseases ;
(iv) thoracic surgery; (v) thyroid diseases; (vi) diabetes; (vii) pernicious
anaemia ; (viii) congenital syphilis (children under 7 years of age).
The special arrangements made for the treatment of lobar pneumonia by antipneumococcal
serum at St. Olave's and St. Andrew's hospitals, which were mentioned
in last year's report, were continued until 31st May, 1934, as also were
similar arrangements at Hammersmith hospital.
The radium centre for the treatment of carcinoma of the uterus was transferred
on 3rd March, 1934, from the North-Western hospital to Lambeth hospital and the
plastic surgery unit from Hammersmith hospital to St. James's hospital on
1st July, 1934.
A unit for dealing with surgical cases within the general category of congenital
malformations in children was opened at Highgate hospital on 1st February, 1934,
and subsequently transferred on 1st July, 1934, to Queen Mary's hospital for children,
Detailed reports on the following will be published in the medical supplement
to this report (Volume IV., Part III) :—(i) plastic surgery; (ii) radium therapy;
(iii) treatment of carcinoma of the uterus by radium; (iv) thoracic surgery;
(v) thyroid disease ; (vi) diabetes; (vii) pernicious anaemia.
The number of births in the Council's hospitals continues to increase at a rate
which has made it no easy task to provide the necessary accommodation. The
figures are as follows

* Numbers of women confined in general hospitals and institutions.


Births in general hospitals and institutions.


* These figures exclude deaths during: the ante-natal period.
The total number of maternity beds at the end of 1934 was 723, an increase of 49
on the number available in 1933. Sixteen of the beds still remain in a public
assistance institution, but it is hoped that it may be possible to move this unit to a
hospital in the vicinity within a short period.
During the year a large new maternity block was opened at Lewisham hospital.
This is the first maternity unit for the design of which the Council has been entirely
responsible, and the results have been found in practice to be eminently satisfactory.
A total of 64 beds has been provided with receiving rooms, five labour rooms, babies'
nurseries, a specially heated room for premature babies, balconies, and ample single
room accommodation for emergency or abnormal cases.
The new maternity unit at Hammersmith hospital was completed by the end of
the year. The present accommodation is 33 beds, but it is contemplated that an
extension will be added when a new block is built. The accommodation consists of
two large labour rooms for " booked " cases, clinical laboratory, babies' bathrooms.