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

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Walthamstow 1962

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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Commenting on the survey, Dr. Watkins wrote:-
"Our investigations, so far as they have gone, suggest
that in Walthamstow the general standard of care of the
elderly is good, but there are still too many without a
normal home background who have been consigned to a life
of wasteful living in virtual isolation, which can lead
to inertia, frailty, squalor and complete resignation
Just as with so many other conditions, prevention is
better that cure, so our aim with the elderly should be to
maintain them active, interested, and useful members of
the community."
Considerable progress had been made also in combating infectious
disease as shown in the table.


Scarlet Fever1270
Whooping Cough390
Meningococcal Infection10
Ophthalmia Neonatorum10
Puerperal Pyrexia1030
Paratyphoid Fever10
Food Poisoning260

Only 8 deaths occurred from tuberculosis and there were 50 new
cases compared with 37 deaths and 123 new cases in 1951; it was clear that
tuberculosis, like all the other infectious diseases, was being
brought under control. B.C.G. vaccination against tuberculosis had
been available to secondary school children and to contacts of the
disease since 1954. and vaccination against poliomyelitis was
commenced in 1956. As with diphtheria (no cases) and whooping cough
(39 cases only) immunisation was proving its value and through
constant vigilance and the prompt application of established methods
of control infectious disease had largely ceased to be a problem.
However the changes in population structure, increasing
numbers of middle aged and elderly, as shown in Tables VII and VIII
was producing a new set of problems in Public Health.