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

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Hampstead 1913

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hampstead, Metropolitan Borough of]

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arc largely due to the action taken by the Council in 1003, when the
vindicated their right to direct and supervise the drainage of railway
property in the Borough.
Cleansing Station.
During the year, 168 school children, 10 children under school age,
and 7 other persons were cleansed at the cleansing station, and while
this was in progress their clothing was thoroughly disinfected by being
passed through the steam chambers.
The position of things as regards the cleansing of school children
and others is not, in my opinion, very satisfactory. Every time a child
is sent to the cleansing station to be cleansed we receive a formal
demand from the Loudon County Council to be informed as to what we have
done to the home. In many cases wc attempt to cleanse the home, and
only with the greatest difficulty can we get any parents or others to be
cleansed; but in this respect it is interesting to note that the County
Council are endeavouring to obtain additional powers to secure the
cleansing of persons who may be the source of the re-infection of the
cleansed children. I am of opinion too that the accommodation at
the cleansing station is inadequate. The endeavour to hot water bathe
children of quite tender years, and cut off a great deal of their hair,
requires to be done with certain precautions against their catching cold
or getting otherwise chilled. The cleansing station, as at present constituted,
consists of one room with a screen. There is practically no
accommodation for waiting, or for children to sit and dry their hair after
being bathed. Should the number of people to be cleansed at the station
be in any way greater, in future, than it has been, I am certain some
additional accommodation must be provided for them.
A case of very considerable interest occurred last year in regard to
the question of the verminous condition of school children. The children
of parents residing in this Borough were repeatedly found to be
attending school in a verminous condition, although they had been
cleansed systematically at the cleansing station. In addition to this
the Council placed the cleansing station at the disposal of those members
of the family who were not of school age, and, whilst the father
availed himself of the offer, the mother and a daughter steadfastly refused
to attend the cleansing station. The condition of the children,
therefore, seemed to me to bring the parents within the provisions of