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

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West Ham 1947

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

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1947. These Regulations came into force on 1st May, 1947.
Prior to this, however, inspections of ice-cream premises were
made and proprietors interviewed with a view to reconstruction
of premises and the installation of additional machinery, in order
to bring them into line in accordance with the new Regulations.
In respect of new applications, the premises were visited personally
by the Acting Chief Sanitary Inspector before a recommendation
was placed before the Health Committee. There
was a total of 534 visits made during the year in respect of
ice-cream makers and dealers.
STAFF DIFFICULTIES. During the year there were 7
changes in the inspectorial staff and 1 in the clerical section.
The constant changes in the inspectorial staff rendered the
efficient organisation very difficult. It was not until the last
three months of the year that new staff was obtained, and so
normal district work was restored.
RODENT CONTROL. In May, 1946, the Ministry of
Food (Infestation Division) issued Circular N.S. 12, detailing
the Rat Campaign Scheme relating to private dwellings. In
accordance with the provisions of the Circular, a Rodent Officer,
four Investigators and eighteen operatives were appointed, in
order to undertake an intensive campaign for the destruction
of rats and mice in the Borough. This staff, under the control
of the Acting Chief Sanitary Inspector, undertook the control
of surface infestations, while the duty of eliminating sewer
rats remained with the Borough Engineer, but the two schemes
were operated in close co-ordination. A system of "block
control" was instituted for private dwellings and neighbouring
premises, and disinfestation of numerous factories in the
Borough undertaken.
A frequent cause of rat infestation of surface premises is
the easy access afforded from the main sewers by way of broken
drains, of which there are very many, resulting from war
damage. In consequence, a gang of men from the Sewer
Section of the Borough Engineer's Department were loaned to
this Section, under the supervision of a Sanitary Inspector, to
investigate the many defects in the drainage systems discovered
by the Rodent Control Staff in the course of their house-to-house
visits. Many drainage systems were tested, and Abatement
Notices served in respect of the defects found. For various
reasons, the greater portion of this repair work or renewal of
the drainage systems was carried out by the Borough Engineer's
Sewer Section or Works Department, working in co-operation
with this Section.
With a view to intensifying the rat campaign, many food
premises were investigated and disinfestation undertaken, in
agreement with the owners of these premises.
In addition, many visits were paid on complaint outside the
area under " block control " at the particular time.