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

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West Ham 1948

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

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It would be wrong to infer, as might seem from this table, that a premature baby is more
likely to survive at home for it is the type of case in which difficulty and danger is anticipated
which is taken into hospital for the confinement, The high proportion of deaths which
occur within the first 24 hours is ample evidence of this.
Of these deaths of West Ham infants only 31 appear in the Registrar General's Return
as deaths due to prematurity but it will be noticed that in fact 49 out of a total of 111 Infant
deaths occurred in premature infants who died within the first month of life.
Premature babies are cared for in the Maternity hospitals in which they are born and both
the mother and baby are often retained in hospital for several weeks.
Those born at home are usually cared for by the Midwives who show much resourcefulness in
the improvisation of clothing and equipment and much devoted attention in carrying out, as far as
their time permits, the frequent visiting which is required. In addition facilities are available
at Plaistow Maternity Hospital for the admission of premature babies whose transfer to
hospital is considered advisable,
DAY NURSERIES. The five day nurseries continued to function throughout the year. During
the latter part of the year attendances were reduced partly on account of the occurrence of a
number of cases of the common infectious diseases and partly on account of delay in Investigating
the circumstances of children on the waiting list caused by shortage of staff. There were
fortunately few changes amongst the senior members of the staff, MrS.Corri, Matron of Liverpool
Road Day Nursery, left the service In January 1948 and Miss Appleton took her place In February,
Miss Harlen, Miss Oakes and Miss L,Smith were appointed Wardens at Plaistow Road,, Liverpool Road,
and Station Street nurseries respectively on November 1st, They were not newcomers to the service
but members of the nursery staff who had attended a Wardens® Course at South East Essex Technical
College on 26th April - l6th June. 1948 (under arrangements made for them by the Borough Council)
and subsequently obtained their Warden's Certificate,
The Public Health Department has been responsible for the ''Health'' section of the Nursery
Norses Course at the West Ham Municipal College, A two hour session is devoted each week to each
of the first and second year group of Students, Medical Officers and the Superintendent Nursing
Officer have contributed to the training but the bulk of the work has been carried out by the Day
Nursery Matrons,

One application was received for the registration of a day nursery at Cumberland Road, under the auspices of the Canning Town Women's Settlement.

NurseryNumber of Approved PlacesAverage daily attendance
Under 2Over 2Total
Litchfield Avenue52133043
Plaistow Road52182442
Station Street52152338
Osborne Road50102737
Liverpool Road52112839
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MATERNITY SERVICE. The Midwives attending domiciliary confinements in West Ham were supplied
from the same four sources throughout the year. (The number at the end of the year was Municipal
Midwives Plaistow Maternity Hospital 12, Beachcroft - equivalent of 2, Silvertown and North
Woolwich District Nursing Association 2 part-time). Prom 5th July 1948 the midwives employed by
Plaistow Maternity Hospital became employees of the Regional Hospital Board who do part of the West
Ham domiciliary midwifery as agents for the Council, and the Beachcroft Training School was taken

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