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

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Brent 1970

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Brent]

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18
medico-social work, it has been possible to provide only limited service to patients suffering from venereal
disease. The social worker is dealing with only about 10 cases per month, most of which are seen at the clinic.
Her visits to defaulters are rare and there is practically no contact tracing.
The services are being reviewed and it is intended to involve health visitors in the work. The
majority of Brent patients attend either Central Middlesex Hospital or St. Mary's Hospital, Harrow Road, but
in order to be treated in complete anonymity some Brent patients do prefer to attend clinics further afield.
Conversely patients from many other Boroughs as far away as Tower Hamlets and Kingston-on-Thames,
have attended the Special Clinic at Central Middlesex Hospital.
Advice, treatment and indeed, attendance at the Centres is entirely confidential. Details are not
divulged, even to husband or wife without the written consent of the patient to whom they refer. The patient
may attend without appointment or doctor's letter. He does not have to give his name if he does not wish
(although he is encouraged to do so to aid in the procedure of follow-up). At the clinic he is referred to by
number only. No charge is made for drugs prescribed in venereal disease clinics. Rather than being forced to
present prescriptions at chemists or at the hospital pharmacy, patients are given their treatment at the
clinic itself in order to avoid any embarrassment and to ensure that they are in fact receiving the necessary
treatment.
The clinic treats patients suffering from syphilis (primary and secondary stages); gonorrhoea:— postpubertal
infections, vulvo-vaginitis and ophthalmia neonatorum; other genital infections:—chancroid (lymphogranuloma
venereum), granuloma ingumale, non-specific genital infections with or without arthritis, trichomoniasis,
candidiasis, scabies, pubic lice, herpes simplex, warts, molluscum contagiosum and other conditions
including treponemal diseases other than syphilis.

The following table illustrates the rapid increase in the number of patients attending the Special Clinic. As can be seen, over the past 5 years, the numbers have doubled.

YearNumbers Attending
19664,006
19675,001
19685,953
19697,477
19708,006
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The number of patients suffering from gonorrhoea has increased considerably and this is mostly
attributed to easily available oral contraceptives. As a result of this, the number of very young patients
attending the clinic has increased. So too have the numbers of married women in their thirties who, as a
result of oral contraception feel free to engage in extra-marital intercourse. There has also been a steady
increase in the number of male homosexuals.

The following table shows growth in the number of younger patients (under the age of 24) attending the Special Clinic for the treatment of gonorrhoea.

Age Years1965196819691970
16Nil374
16—175162233
18—1915285864
20—2417109146164
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The next table gives a detailed break-down of patients suffering from gonorrhoea who attended the Special Clinic at Central Middlesex Hospital during the year.

MaleFemale
West Indian25751
African30
Asian131
Mediterranean30
British10257
Irish337
European32
Other Non-Negro30
Other Negro10
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It must be pointed out here that the Central Middlesex Hospital is situated in Park Royal and in
its catchment area there are many neighbourhoods which have a high proportion of immigrants from both
Ireland and the West Indies. In the past 15 years immigrants to this country have been mostly young, fit
unattached males. However they very seldom bring venereal disease into Britain. With few exceptions they


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