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

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Kensington 1890

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Kensington]

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This report opens with a reference to the increased prevalence
of scarlet fever in the closing months of 1890, which,
although not equalling in combined suddenness and severity the
outbreak in the autumn of 1887, was nevertheless such as, at one
time, to give the Managers concern as to whether the normal
accommodation at their disposal would be adequate to the occasion.
Happily the new Small-pox Hut Hospital at Darenth—previously
unused—was available in aid of the London Hospitals, and by its
appropriation for the reception of convalescing patients, the
difficulty was fully met, at an expenditure much less than would
have been incurred had it been necessary to erect temporary huts as
in 1887. The emergency, however, was not so great, for the largest
number of scarlet fever patients under treatment at one time was
2071, against 2611 in 1887'—that being the highest number on
record. The question whether the numbers in 1887 will ever again
be attained is considered. On the one hand it is assumed that the
objections of parents to the removal of their children to hospital
will become less year by year, and therefore a larger proportion of
cases will be admitted; on the other hand it is pointed out that
the prompt isolation of the sick thereby brought about, by reducing
the number of centres of infection, ought at no distant date to
result in a diminution of the disease, the deaths from which have
steadily declined for years past, and so many as 510 out of a total
of 876 having occurred in the Board's hospitals last year.
" Whichever of these two influences may ultimately predominate,
the fact in the meantime remains, that each succeeding autumn
witnesses the necessity of permanent relief being afforded to
the Eastern Hospital, as recommended by the ' Royal Commission
on Infectious Hospitals,' in 1882."
The hospital accommodation at the disposal of the Managers,
with present distribution of beds to the various diseases, is as

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