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

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Hillingdon 1971

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hillingdon]

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Rabies Vaccination
For several years now prophylactic inoculation against rabies has been offered to the staff
at the R.S.P.C.A. kennels at London (Heathrow) Airport, where animals from many parts of the
world are housed while in transit or awaiting transport to quarantine kennels. Similar facilities
have been offered to the staff of a local kennels which is approved by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food for quarantine purposes.
The vaccine used is a suspension of embryonic duck tissue infected with virus to which virucidal
agent has been added. The recommended schedule for vaccination is two subcutaneous inoculations
six weeks apart followed by a booster dose six months later and annually thereafter. Serum
for anti body estimation is taken three weeks after the booster doses.
In March 1970, a Committee of Enquiry (Waterhouse Committee) was set up to enquire
into the precautions against rabies being taken in Great Britain. One of the recommendations of
this Committee is that all persons who are considered to be at particular risk of contact with a
rabid animal by nature of their employment, should be offered facilities for prophylactic vaccination
against the disease. During 1971, local health authorities were requested by the Department of
Health and Social Security to make available under Section 26 of the National Health Service
Act 1946, facilities for vaccination against rabies and lists of approved establishments and of
carrying agents authorised under the Importation of Dogs and Cats Orders 1928-1970 were
issued to all local authorities.
In addition to the personnel to whom such prophylaxis was already being offered it was
considered that certain personnel involved in cargo handling duties at the London (Heathrow)
Airport might be particularly at risk and facilities for vaccination was also offered to these groups.
Immunisation Statistics are recorded on pages 121-122.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Dr. B. P. Westworth—Principal Medical Officer
Approval of Medical Practitioners
The Director of Health Services and two Principal Medical Officers are approved under the
Mental Health Act 1959 as having special experience in the diagnosis of mental subnormality.
No applications for approval were received from medical practitioners during the year.
Psychiatric Services
The work in this field has continued throughout the year although methods and organisation
have varied as a result of the separation of the social service function. Weekly meetings held with
mental welfare officers after 1st April became discussions with mental health social workers.
In spite of changes there still remained a regular opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and
discussion not only about individual problems but also topics more generally based on the
prevention of mental ill health.
Regular support was given to the staff and residents at Hayes Park Hostel and advice on
mental health problems was always available.
The Psychiatric Day Unit opened at Hillingdon Hospital and a very warm welcome was
extended to members of the department by both clerical and administrative staff. It was so worthwhile
to take advantage of these opportunities that it is now possible to see in retrospect the
foundations that were laid for a comprehensive community mental health service. The opening
of the psychiatric in-patient facilities at Hillingdon Hospital under the supervision of Dr. S.
Wiseberg, the consultant psychiatrist, was delayed, but closer co-ordination was promoted during
the latter months of the year by the attendance of the principal medical officer at the out-patient
clinic. This has provided further opportunity for exchange of ideas so that the very best service
can be provided for the patients within the catchment area. It is disappointing that barely half
of the population of the Borough live within the area which will benefit from these improved
facilities.
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