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Unbekannt. Ersatzquellen: Clerkenwell News, 2. Februar 1869. S. 1/2; Daily Review, 2. Februar 1869. S. 6/7.
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POOR-LAW MEDICAL OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION.

At a meeting of this valuable society, held last evening at Freemason’s-hall, Dr. Rogers in the chair, an elaborate report was presented by the council. It stated that the association had recently been doing its best to obtain parliamentary support to the objects it had in view, and that letters had been received from many distinguished members of parliament in consequence. Mr. Bright declared how glad he would be to assist in doing justice to the medical officers in any matter of which they had a right to complain; and Mr. Lowe wrote that, as representative of a constituency containing a large number of the medical profession, he should feel it to be his duty to watch carefully over their interests, so far as they were affected by legislation. Letters of like import had been received from Mr. Goschen M.P., Mr. Hughes, M.P., Mr. Torrens, M.P., Mr. C. Reed, M.P., Sir H. Hoare, M.P., Mr. W. E. Forster, M.P., Mr. Onslow, M.P., and dozens of other members of parliament.

The PRESIDENT delivered a lengthy address. He pointed out, as a natural result he had long prophesied, that the London ratepayers were so alarmed at the reckless and injudicious local expenditure to which they were subject, that they were rising in rebellion against Mr. Hardy’s act. Having reason to believe that the system of medical relief to the poor in Ireland was vastly superior to ours, he had obtained some valuable information from the chief clerk to the Irish commission. In 13 months after the Irish Charities Act came into operation dispensaries had been established, and were in working |25 order all over, and even in the remotest districts of the island. Under the first year’s working of the act the total expenditure on the poor was 937,556l. After it had been in operation seven years the amount had diminished to 513,048l. Up to 1867 it had slowly risen again, doubtless owing to the depressed state of the country. Notwithstanding this, the figures for 1867 represented a diminution of 142,662l. upon the outlay for 1852. Medicines and appliances for 1867 cost 21,776l. The salaries of medical officers amounted to 72,353l. and the total was 118,117l. Deducting this from 794,894l., the amount expended for the relief of the poor during the year 1867 would show the proportionate amount which medical relief bore to the general local poor rate. Starting from the same date a return issued by the English Poor-law Beard showed that the total amount expended for the relief of the poor in 1852 was 4,897, 685l.  From that period to 1867 there had been a nearly constant and steady increase of taxation under this head until in 1867 it had reached the enormous sum of 6,959,841l. or 6s. 6d. per head of population; in fact, it had increased to the extent of 2,062,155l. He had good reason for believing that if we had the returns to the present time still more damaging figures would come out. The amount of money expended for medical relief to the poor in England and Wales was 272,225l. In Ireland 118,000l. was expended for five and a half millions; in England 272,225l. was expended for a population of nearly four times the number. If, therefore, the English and Irish scales were assimilated, we should require the gross amount to be nearly 200,000l. more in order to secure for the English medical officer even the scanty measure of justice now accorded to the Irish medical profession in the treatment of the sick. Dr. Rogers, after entering into a vast array of statistics, drew the following conclusions: Now what should be the remedy for this state of things? Having so excellent a poor law medical service in the sister island, I would urge that it should be made the basis of any alteration in England and Wales. Above all things, I must press that all medicines and appliances should be provided at the public expense, not grudgingly, but at the discretion of the medical officer, subject of course to the supervision of persons competent to judge his requirements; and that dispensaries should be established in all fitting localities, and, in populous places, dispensers appointed. Should this be done, it would involve a probable annual outlay of, say, in round numbers, 500,000l. of which some 86,000l. would have to be expended in medicines and medical appliances, i.e., arguing from the Irish figures; leaving 414,000l. available for the salaries of medical officers, dispensers, and for contingencies. The question now arises, from what sources should this sum be raised? I utterly despair of every inducing the general body of guardians throughout the country to act justly, or even with an intelligent regard, to the public interest in this matter—(cheers)—and as the sickness of the poor should be a matter of national concern, I would throw the whole of the salaries of the officers—instead of, as at present, the half of them—upon the consolidated fund, compelling boards of guardians to find medicines. (Cheers.)

The report was unanimously passed, and several resolutions were adopted. The chief amongst them complained of the inadequate and unfair salaries of Poor-law medical officers; insisted that permanence of appointment was essential to the due and independent discharge of the duties of Poor-law medical officers, and that they should be considered entitled to superannuation allowance in common with the members of the civil service. A petition embodying these opinions was agreed upon for presentation to the House of Commons. The various speakers were earnest in their praise of the efforts of the association in the cause of Poor-law Medical Reform.



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THE ALLEGED DEATH FROM STARVATION IN THE ISLE OF DOGS.

Yesterday afternoon, at the ordinary meeting of the Popular Board of Guardians, the clerk read a report which appeared in several of the morning journals of that day, of an inquest held by Mr. Humphreys, at the Folly House Tavern. Isle of Dogs, as to the death of Catherine Spencer, aged 34. The jury returned a verdict that the cause of death was “exhaustion, privation, and want of food.” The Rev. Mr. Carpenter, whose name was mentioned at the inquest, attended the meeting of the board, and stated that he had made very careful inquiries, and was convinced there was no truth whatever in the statement that the woman died from starvation. Her husband, he found, had had a quantity or work at intervals during the past month, and had actually received a sum of 6s. 6d. for wages the very day before the woman died. On the evening of that day deceased was in the nearest public-house, the Manchester Arms, drinking for a long time, and, as he was informed, was quite intoxicated. The man who passed as her husband—for they were not married—had worked at Millwall Docks, also for Mr. Wise, and had had other casual employment. Mr. Delaney, the relieving officer for the south district, then made a long statement, fully bearing out the contradiction given above to the evidence before the coroner, and the facts were further confirmed by neighbours of the deceased woman, who were called as witnesses. Mr. E. H. Currie made some strong observations on the manner in which the coroner ordered and conducted some of his inquiries, and said it was due to the credit of the board that some measures should be adopted for bringing the evidence in the case now before them under the notice of the proper authorities. He moved that the clerk be instructed to transmit copies of the evidence now taken and the published report to the coroner, the Poor-Law Board, and the Home Secretary. The motion was seconded by Mr. Ravenhill, and supported by Mr. Blott, who remarked that all who were acquainted with the liberal character of that board would be slow to believe that anyone would be likely to die of starvation in their district. The motion was put from the chair, and carried unanimously.

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BURYING AN EMPTY COFFIN.—

One of those strange freaks of circumstances by which truth vindicates its pre-eminence in strangeness over fiction occurred within the last few days at Farnham workhouse. In the obituary of the 500th issue of this paper, the death of Mary Pitts was recorded as having taken place at Farnham workhouse. Arrangements were made for her burial. The undertaker had provided a special coffin for deceased, owing to the cramped position in which life had left her. The rule of the house is this:—When an inmate of the sick ward dies, the body, after being properly attended to by the nurse, is removed in a shell from the sick ward to the dead house. It appears that this was done in the case of Mary Pitts. When the undertaker brought this “special coffin” home, he placed it in the dead-house in the usual way. One day last week somebody was sent by somebody else to screw down the coffin lid. Shell and coffin lay side by side, and both with their lids on, and screws in the coffin lid just as the undertaker had left it. Without heed or care the screws were turned down by this irresponsible somebody, and on Friday the coffin brought out with all due solemnity, and, placed on Bent-all’s shillibeer-carriage, was conveyed to Aldershot cemetery. Sundry remarks were jocularly passed by the bearers upon the lightness of the coffin, but irresponsible somebody took no heed. The burial service of the church of England was read and in “sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection” the coffin was deposited in the grave and filled in. The family who were to have followed were misled by irresponsible somebody, and arrived about an hour after the service was ended. So matters stood, until another inmate of the workhouse died on Friday, the 22nd, and the shell was again required. Somebody was sent for it, and on his removing the lid, he exclaimed in utter amazement, “Good God! Here’s the woman we buried last Saturday!” The master was at once informed of the fact, the news soon flew, some of the guardians assembled, naturally indignant at the gross neglect of duty manifested by everybody concerned. On Monday the remains of the unfortunate woman were conveyed to Aldershot cemetery, and interred. On Wednesday a special meeting of the guardians was held in the board-room, and a report of the circumstance forwarded to the Poor-law Board. There the matter rests for the present, but whatever action may be taken, we may perhaps be allowed to suggest that above the spot where the empty coffin lies a memorial stone should be erected to mark forever the detestation and abhorrence which sensible men feel at the wretchedly-irresponsible system under which such things are possible. Let the stone read:—In memory of duties deputed, duties neglected, and duties unperformed. January 16th, 1869.—Surrey and Hants News and Guildford Times.|

Inhalt:

  • Social cases. 1869