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

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Barking 1937

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Barking]

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Rat Week Propaganda.—In connection with Rat Week the following action
was taken by the Corporation:—
(1) Large illustrated posters were exhibited at 28 stations in the district
inviting co-operation and giving advice to the general public.
(2) The attention of the Borough Engineer and Surveyor was directed to the
Corporation properties and sewers.
(3) Special applications of raticides were made at the Corporation Hospitals.
(4) The Corporation had available for free issue four different kinds of raticides.
Again there was indifferent support by the public and during the week only three
applications were made to the local authority for assistance.
Although it is my duty to report this indifferent support by the public during
the particular week which was given to this propaganda, I think that in some small
measure this redounds to your credit, because in my opinion, this means that, at least
to a considerable extent, you are dealing continuously throughout the year with the
rat problem, and that all those who are concerned with this problem are more or
less in constant touch with the Department.
It may be that this experience may have some bearing on any future decisions
you make with regard to propaganda. In the first place, I have to say that the only
real propaganda is efficient service, and in the second place I should like to say as a
result of Rat Week that where the service is efficient, propaganda is of only very
limited value.
(g) Rag Flock Acts, 1911 and 1928.
There are two premises where upholstery repairs are carried out and these
premises are regularly inspected.
We have not found rag flock in use at either of these establishments, which
are quite small repair shops.
(h) Removal of Infirm and Diseased Persons.
The Barking Corporation Act, 1933, empowers the Medical Officer of Health
to certify that a person is infirm or diseased, and is incapable of taking care of himself,
and is not receiving proper care and attention from others. The certificate enables
the justices to grant an order for the compulsory removal to hospital of the person