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

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Croydon 1923

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Croydon]

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III.—Of the 55 beds occupied by patients with non-pulmonary
(a) 11 were at the Royal Sea-Bathing Hospital, Margate;
(b) 22 at St. Anthony's Hospital, Cheam;
(c) 12 at Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot;
(d) 4 at Victoria Home, Margate;
(e) 2 at Lord Mayor Treloar's Hospital, Alton ;
(f) 1 at the Alexandra Hospital for Hip Diseases;
(g) 3 at various other institutions.
None of these beds were definitely retained for Croydon patients.
Of these 55 beds for non-pulmonary tuberculosis, on an average 21
were occupied by cases of surgical tuberculosis (of spine, joints or
bone), and 35 by cases of glandular or other non-pulmonary tuberculosis.
Surgical tuberculosis, when once established, is so slow in its
cure that each patient on an average occupies a bed for eighteen
months to two years. A large proportion of the beds at present
devoted to non-pulmonary tuberculosis might with advantage be
utilised for the surgical type of the disease, affecting spine, joints
and bones, other provision being made for some of the patients
with glandular or other forms of tuberculosis. Such provision
would in part consist in using beds at other institutions as available;
but the difficulty would be materially relieved by establishing
an open-air school in Croydon, into which these children could be
drafted at an early stage of the disease, arrest being likely to follow
in a considerable proportion of the cases without further institutional
While the open-air school would clearly be an important part of
the machinery for preventing tuberculosis in childhood, other preventive
measures can at the same lime be applied. Tuberculosis in
children is in some cases derived from tuberculous parents or relations,
in others from tuberculous unboiled milk. Much can be done
towards the eradication of the disease in childhood by steadv
application of measures for the education of the tuberculous adult
in the control of his infectivity—in sanatoria, at the dispensary, and
by visits to the home—and for the instruction of mothers, through
Infant Centres and by the visits of health visitors, as to the value
tuberculosis affecting the child, pending the removal of this source
of infection at its origin.