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

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London County Council 1945

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

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In my annual report for the year 1944, I mentioned that the number of V.D.
patients treated under the Scheme had diminished during the war years owing to a
large proportion of the population being in the Forces, and that it could not therefore
be assumed from the figures that the incidence of V.D. had declined since 1939. This
statement is borne out by the increase in work at the civilian clinics since the cessation
of hostilities; and, towards the end of the year, when demobilisation was in progress,
extra sessions were held at many of the clinics to meet the sharp rise in the number of
new cases and attendances.
Treatment by
Penicillin has been available to civilian clinics in the Scheme, and 2,305 patients,
240 of whom were suffering from syphilis, 2,026 from gonorrhoea and 39 others, were
treated by this method during the year. By its use the period of treatment has been
considerably reduced compared with that by older methods, although it is still
necessary for patients to attend for considerable periods for tests of cure. It is not yet
desirable to trust to penicillin alone for the treatment of syphilis, and most clinicians
use it in conjunction with a modified course of arsenical treatment. One advantage
of the use of penicillin is, however, that it renders the patient quickly non-infectious,
thus making default from treatment less dangerous to others and thereby helping to
decrease the incidence of these diseases.
During the year, 2,111 Service patients attended the clinics in the Scheme; 7,278
Service attendances were made at the clinics and 14,505 Service pathological tests
were carried out in the approved laboratories. These figures are included in the
above tables.
Most of these patients were referred by the Service medical authorities in
special circumstances to the civilian clinics for continuation treatment, and they
represent only a very small proportion of the total number treated at the centres,
viz., 7.6 per cent. of new cases, 2.4 per cent. of attendances and 4.9 per cent. of
pathological tests.
In addition to the in-patient treatment provided in direct association with
the clinics, the Council's Sheffield Street Hospital (102 beds) continued to admit
pregnant women suffering from venereal disease, and at Queen Mary's Hospital
for Children, Carshalton, the unit (36 beds) for children suffering from congenital
syphilis and vulvo-vaginitis continued its work.
Propaganda by means of posters and advertisements in the daily press has been
continued throughout the year, and full use has been made of the services provided
by the Central Council for Health Education, to which body the Council pays an
annual grant, the amount paid in 1945 being £2,604.
At the beginning of the year three hostels were included in the Scheme, viz.,
Highbury Quadrant and two Salvation Army hostels, Lower Clapton Road.
At the request of the Home Office, the Salvation Army decided to use one of the
hostels for the purpose of an "approved school" for the treatment of girls suffering
from V.D. As a result this hostel was excluded from the V.D. Scheme at the end of
February. The Salvation Army's other V.D. hostel had not been used to full capacity
and the accommodation available has proved sufficient for the purposes of the
The accommodation provided at Highbury Quadrant hostel remained the same as
in 1944, viz., 24 beds.
There was again a large increase in the number of alleged contacts reported under
Defence Regulation 33B—2,030 in 1945, compared with 1,344 in 1944.
The difficulties in tracing those named were mentioned in my report for 1944, but
much useful work has again been done and the results are summarised below. Since
the inception of the arrangements, 151 certificates (form 5), certifying clearance from
infection, have been received.

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