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

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East Ham 1949

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for East Ham]

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In spite of the vigilance of the Port Sanitary Authorities, the
contagion has on occasion passed from ship to shore and thereafter
rapid dissemination is possible by a hundred different routes
through our crowded cities.
Outbreaks have occurred and the death rate in each would
indicate that we are drifting towards a phase when an unvaccinated
and highly susceptible population may easily fall a prey to the
ravages of this highly contagious disease possibly in a virulent
East Ham must therefore be regarded as one of the first lines
of defence and it is no less than a moral obligation for every parent
to ensure that his children are vaccinated as a shield against
contracting and spreading small-pox.
Section 27—Ambulance Services.
This service, working practically to full capacity, is hampered
by several old vehicles which will be replaced as the exigencies of
the supply position and the stringency of finance allow.
The plans for the proposed new ambulance station, foreshadowed
in my last report, have been submitted to the Ministry,
and after considerable discussion, agreed.
Difficulties in the steel allocation and supply position and
other factors arising from the need for national economy and
overriding defence measures have militated against the opportunity
for rapid new construction and no progress has been made.
Meanwhile, valuable ambulances are inadequately housed,
exposed to the vagaries of our climate and subject to rapid
deterioration in fabric and equipment. Nor must it be forgotten
that the staff in a service which demands a high degree of physical
fitness, merit at least a modicum of comfort in their operational
Throughout the year the closest co-operation has been obtained
from hospitals, clinics and general practitioners so that very few
calls were made which did not entail a genuine demand for
ambulance services. This close liaison has also effected a considerable
saving in daily mileage and costs.