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

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West Ham 1946

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

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The Clinic was held on Mondays and Wednesdays of each
week, at 2 p.m., and was in session until 4.30 or 5 p.m. Except
in cases of urgency, patients were given appointment cards and
seen by appointment. On the whole, patients were punctual
and regular in their attendances, and neither Psychiatrist nor
patient could complain of unneecessary delay. The Psychiatric
Social Worker continued to give invaluable help by her attendance
at each session. Furthermore, through her agency an
effective liaison was maintained with the appropriate social and
welfare services, and adequate contact was made with those
aspects of the environment that were found to have a bearing
on the production or relief of psychiatric disorder.
In all, 118 patients (63 female and 55 male) were in
attendance at the Clinic during the year 1946. They made a
total of 460 attendances. Thirty-two were patients who were
continuing treatment from the previous year and 83 were fresh
cases. Seven of the fresh cases were under 17.

The following table shows the source of the cases, with the numbers of patients referred from each source, and is an index of the field of activity of the Clinic:—

Doctors of West Ham62
West Ham Hospital for Nervous and Mental Disorders28
Medical Officer of Health5
Psychiatric Social Worker5
Whipps Cross Hospital4
Other Hospitals3
Ministry of Labour2
Social Services Officers4
Probation Officer2
Citizens' Advice Bureau1
West Ham Education Committee1
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CAUSAL FACTORS. Examination of the factors that
appeared to precipitate mental upset in the 1946 cases shows
that two factors occurred with undue frequency. They were
(1) post-war difficulties in domestic, marital and employment
adjustment, and (2) stresses occasioned by overcrowding or
lack of housing accommodation. Both are clearly topical
stresses, and are a reflection of the general post-war socialeconomic
flux. Of 13 ex-Service men treated at the Clinic
during the year, six had been invalided from service on
psychiatric grounds. In three of the remainder the breakdown
was considered to have been directly related to stresses of
Service life.
CLINICAL VARIETIES. The following table shows the
incidence of the various varieties of mental disorder seen at
the out-patient Clinic during the year: —

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