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

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Bromley 1967

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Bromley]

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Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
There were no applications for a Guide Dog by persons on the
blind register. Two men and two women living in the Borough have
Guide Dogs.
During the holiday season of 1967 the Department arranged
holidays for those who wished to take a holiday at the Merrell
House Holiday Home for the Blind at Cliftonville and also at
homes in Hastings and Weston-Super-Mare. For the first time blind
and partially-sighted persons participated in the Borough's scheme
for giving financial assistance to handicapped persons who wish to
take a holiday. The total amount spent on this service in 1967/68
was £401 14s. Od.
Due to the appointment of an additional social worker to the
Orpington team, a limited scheme of integration was introduced
into the Orpington district office on 1st January, 1968. It was
designed to give each social welfare officer a mixed caseload which
would include blind, elderly and physically handicapped persons.
Social workers who had little or no experience of dealing with the
problems of blindness attended an induction course conducted by
the Senior Social Welfare Officer for the Blind. A result of
integrating the social welfare officers for the blind fully into the
team has been a closer liaison between colleagues, and a reduction
of the caseloads to a more manageable level.
Initial visits to persons suffering from defective vision are
carried out by the Senior Social Welfare Officer of the Blind and
the client's needs assessed in order that the most appropriate
worker can be allocated.
Long Cane Technique
Over the years many attempts have been made to overcome
the problems of mobility which blind persons face. White sticks,
guide dogs and sonic torches are among the methods used and for
some blind persons have proved successful. 1967 saw the introduction
into this country of the Long Cane Technique which is
based on a system taught in America originally to war blinded
persons. The Royal National Institute for the Blind and St.
Dunstans carried out an evaluation of the technique at their
rehabilitation centres and proved that for some blind persons their
mobility was vastly improved by using long cane. Instruction in
the Long Cane Technique has since become part of the training
received at the Royal National Institute for the Blind centres at
Torquay and Bridgnorth. The Midlands Mobility Centre at