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

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St James's 1883

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St James's, Westminster]

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This Act, which received the Royal assent on the 20th August,
contains important provisions for the isolation and treatment of
persons suffering from cholera and other infectious diseases. The
Managers of the Metropolitan Asylums District are thereby created
a local authority for certain purposes of the Diseases Prevention
Act, 1855, and, as such, are authorised to contract with the
managers of any hospital, infirmary, or workhouse, for the reception
and treatment of cholera patients in any-such building. Vestries
and District Boards are authorised to borrow money for providing
hospital accommodation under the Sanitary Act, 1866 ; and part of
the expenses of providing such accommodation, as well as a
portion of the cost of administration, will be a charge on the
Metropolitan Common Poor Fund. Another section of the Act
admits the principle that the removal to hospital, and maintenance
therein, of any person suffering from an infectious disease is not to
be considered parochial relief, or involve any disability or disqualification.
The Act, however, is a tentative measure only, and will
expire on the 1st September, 1884.
A circular letter was received from the Local Government Board
early in September, setting forth the nature and scope of the regulations
which the Board proposed to issue in the event of an outbreak
of cholera in London. In addition to providing for the medical
visitation of the poorer class of houses, the supply of medical
attendance and nursing, and of medicines and disinfectants, as on
former occasions, the regulations would further include the provision
of such hospitals and places of refuge as may be necessary for local
purposes. A new departure in sanitary legislation would thus be
made in providing not only hospitals for the sick who could not
receive proper attention in their own homes, but also "places of
refuge" for the lodgment of persons who, although not actually
sick, should be kept under observation, or of those temporarily
displaced while their home was either under disinfection, or devoted
to a sick person who could not properly be removed. The Vestry
recognise the value of these additional means of preventing the

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