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

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City of London 1951

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Port of London]

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has a cockpit -with a sufficiently large open space to receive a stretcher and deep
enough to protect the occupants from inclement -weather. It is capable of
accommodating eight sitting cases.
The m.l. "Frederick Whittingham" is a much smaller launch and is used by
the Sanitary Inspector in the Upper River District for the inspection of river craft
of all kindsĀ®
(f) Supervision of Contacts -
In the event of a vessel arriving on -which there is or has been a case or
oases of a major infectious disease, all persons on board are considered to be
possible contacts.
Such persons are individually interrogated as to the address to which they
are proceeding immediately on disembarkation and given a specially prepared
double post-card, on one half of which they give full details of their names and
addresses. These particulars, together with an appropriate note of the
circumstances are then forwarded to the Medical Officers of Health of the districts
in which the contacts' address is situated. The other half of the card they are
asked to keep and use only should they change their address during a specified
period, usually the incubation period of the disease in question.
(g) Arrangements for the Bacteriological or Pathological examination of Rats ~
(h) Arrangements for other Bacteriological or Pathological examinations -
All such examinations are now carried out at the Central Public Health
Laboratory at Colindale.
For many years past, rats caught or found dead on board ships, particularly
ships arriving from ports which are, or occasionally are, plague infected, were sent
as a routine for examination for plague. The last plague infected rat found in the
Port of London was in 1927.
This is an expensive service and it was decided to abandon it as a routine,
save in the case of rats found dead on board, since the results have been so
persistently negative over many years.
7. Arrangements for the diagnosis and Treatment of Venereal Diseases among Sailors,
under International arrangements -
The Venereal Diseases are not compulsorily notifiable but efforts are made
to bring to the notice of all seamen using the Port, the facilities for free
treatment under the Brussels Agreement.
When the Medical Officers board ships on arrival they alusays enquire whether
there are any cases of venereal disease on board and should there be a known case
the infected person's attention is drawn to the importance of obtaining skilled
treatment as soon as possible and he is given a list of addresses of the Clinics
near the ship's berth in London and the time at which cases may attend.
Similarly the Sanitary Inspectors have a supply of pamphlets listing the
names and addresses of places of treatment available. This notice is printed in
21 different languages and is posted up at vantage points throughout the -whole of
the dock area.
8. Arrangements for the Interment of the Dead -
When cases of infectious disease die on board ship or at Denton Hospital,
arrangements for interment are made with an Undertaker in the Gravesend area.
Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and Merchant Fleet Auxiliaries.
26th January, 1951.
1. I am directed by the Minister of Health to say that the Medical
Director-General of the Navy has proposed that the health control of
Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and Merchant Fleet Auxiliaries when arriving
in a naval or other port should in future be applied by the Port Health
Authority or other Sanitary Authority (i.e., under the Port Health
Regulations, 1933 to 1945), instead of by the Naval Medical Officer of
Health as at present.
2. The Minister sees no objection to this proposal, and he has been

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