SEPT. 27, 1947 CORRESPONDENCE MEDBRIISH 509 crying, Sister said and repeated, " It is the baby crying "-and hostels run on the freer lines of voluntary ones. All authorities encouraged to follow the lead of those progresit was. The mother also heard it. I got a foetal stethoscope and should, however, becounty boroughs which have already provided counties and went round to the front of the mother to listen to the foetal sive cases for several years. Their experience some in hostels, such heart and heard the crying again, louder than before. The baby proves what great satisfaction is given to those old people capable cried a third time, but I had left the room hoping to find another of enj6ying a fairly active and normal way of life in the backdoctor near, and only Sister and the patient heard it. No further ground of an ordinary large house. intrauterine crying was heard. Part II consists mainly of advice on how to build new institutions More liquor drained during the afternoon. Contractions for the old. It is to be hoped that this will be relevant some day, of our oldbegan about 6 p.m., and the baby was born at 12.10 a.m.-i.e., as most people would like to see scrapped the worst public assistance buildings. In view of the present buildover 12 hours after the intrauterine crying. It cried at onre fashioned ing crisis, however, authorities are unlikely to be able to build and is quite well. afresh for some years. If, therefore, I were to republish my booklet (It would have been possible for the Drew-Smythe to haye to-day I should stress the advisability of buying up or taking over been passed into the child's mouth.)-I am, etc., ordinary fairly large houses, which do not require very much E. CURPHEY. adaptation. In some ways they may even be preferable to new Trowbridge. Examining Overseas SIR,-The recent tragic death of one of the most able members of our profession shortly after a long round of examinations ,overseas calls attention to an.important aspect of these tours. I can speak with personal experience'of several such trips and considerable experience of long-distance flights. In thisparticular case 1 met two of the examiners in Cairo on their way home. Both were tired men, and one was completely exhausted. Those invited to undertake this work are of necessity busy men with heavy commitments at home. It is sometimes held out as an inducement that no time will be wasted and that the tour will only occupy some surprisingly short period of weeks. The tour in such circumstances is extremely trying. Oral examinations and marking of papers are crowded into a minimum of time before the examiners fly-often at awkward hours-to their next appointment, and finally start on their homeward journey tired out, usually to pass through rapid changes of climate with only a few hours' rest at night. Return home involves instant immersion in a welter of arrears and urgent engagements, and a holiday is an impossibility. If further tragedies are to be avoided these tours should be planned to allow reasonable leisure, and a rest in some pleasant surroundings should be arranged to take place before the trip home. Electing bodies should not only pravide for such rest but insist that it should be followed in spite of possible protests by examiners.-I am, etc., London, W.1. HENRY TIDY. Housing the Infirm SIR,-The recent B.M.A. booklet- on The Care and Treatment of the Elderly and Infirm is so excellent that all who are interested in the welfare of old people hope that it will reach a wide public. This subject, once scarcely developed, is now being given more prominence, and it is to be desired that many more doctors should realize the interest of tackling this difficult problem, of exploring new methods and seeking for fresh solutions. There is plenty of room for creative work. Among the list of publications consulted by the B.M.A. special committee which drew up this work my booklets are mentioned. As they are now out of print, I have given one of the few remaining copies of Housing the Infirm to the B.M.A. Library. I wish to point out, however, that it was written in 1937, and that if I were going to republish it to-day it would have to be amended in several important respects. There is little that I should wish to omit, but much that I might add. Part I consists of suggestions for brightening up existing public assistance institutions, both how to improve the appearance of the rooms and how to provide a more interesting life for the inmates. Points like permission for daily visiting, the wearing of private clothing, and the provision of more occupations have now been officially recommended in the Ministry of Health Circular 49/47. The chapter on pocket money is now out of date, since Miss Irene Ward's Poor Law (Amendment) Act, 1938, allowed the authorities to give it to inmates aged 65 or more; and, after a long campaign, all of them, including the Scots, agreed to do so. Further sections could weli be added in order to mention the more difficult types of patient-senile, bedridden, incontinent, and so on-as I am afraid that to readers unfamiliar with institutions the impression might be given that the author believes that the majority of inmates would be suitable for' transfer to small hostels. This is not the case. Probably no more than a fifth, or at most a quarter, of the present elderly inmates in institutions could be suitably provided for in erections, since they were built originaily as private homes and therefore do not smack of institutions. The last chapter in the book I would now put first, since I regard it as the most important. It stresses the fact that it is the staff, far more than the building, which makes or mars the happiness of those who "go in."-I am, etc., London, S.W.7. OLIVE MATT.HEWS. British Rheumatic Association SIR,-An association to forward the interests of sufferers from rheumatism has been formed on the lines of the well-known Diabetic Association. Mr. H. G. Wells, who was largely responsible for the founding of the Diabetic Association in 1933, prophesied that it would be followed by other associations of people with a common disability. A. letter dated House of Commons, May 19, 1947, was signed by five M.P.s representing all parties: Lady Megan Lloyd George; Col. Stoddart-Scott, and Major C. York; Dr. S. W. Jeger and'Mr. Stephen Taylor. This was published in the Press. The key paragraph read as follows: "A Rheumatic Association is visualized to organize the general welfare of sufferers on'-a--national scale both by direct action and advice and by assisting existing institutions. There would be an executive and an advisory staff, and a monthly journal to keep sufferers. and the public generally, informed of developments in the treatment of rheumatism, of research into the disease, and of matters of public health bearing on rheumatism." The response to this letter justified the founding of the Association. It has been constituted essentially as a lay body with lay activities; its Council must always have a non-medical, majority. Apart from xnyself, the medical men at present serving on the Council are: Dr. Francis Bach, Dr. S. W. Jeger, M.P., Dr. C. E. Lakin, Col. Stoddart-Scott, M.P., and Dr. H. D. Wyatt. The following are among those who have consented to be titular vice-presidents: the Marchioness of Reading, Lady Megan Lloyd George, the Dean of Westminster, Sir Ian Fraser, Sir Alan Herbert, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Harold Tempany, the Earl of Scarborough, Mr. Percy Rockliff, and the Rt. Hon. Tom Williams. The British Rheumatic Association is not intended to rival any existing body. It has, in fact, the approval of the Empire Rheumatism Council, and is seeking registration as a charity trust. It has been formed primarily to help rheumatic sufferers to help themselves; but its membership is' open to all who are interested in rheumatism, whether sufferers or not. The subscription has been fixed at lOs. per annum. Donations would be welcomed. The headquarters of the Association is at 118-120, Wardour Street, but written communications should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary, Mr. A. C. M. Bowen,- B.A., at the clerical department, 11l, Woodville Rcad, New Barnet, Herts.I am, etc., F. HERNAMAN-JOHNSON, New Barnet. Herts. Chairman of Council, B.R.A. The Report of the London Council of Social Services for the Year 1946-7 has recently been published. Of particular interest is the expansion of the Old People's Welfare Department that it' reveals. An experimental London Federation of Homes for the Aged has been set up with the obiect of raising the standard of homes for the aged and for providing a consultation service. The Federation is planning a conference for matrons of old people's homes. The London Council has surveyed the home he:p. available for old people in various boroughs., Ten local committees are now providing mobile meals services and canteens.
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