Transcription: District Health Report Bexhill Observer August 1916

From the Bexhill Observer 19th August 1916


The urgent importance of promoting the health and improving the physique of the young generations is now so obvious to all that greater interest in the medical inspection of school children may be anticipated. It is satisfactory to find that the care of the children’s health has not been relaxed in Bexhill on account of the diversion of labour in other directions. During the past year, 408 children were examined by the Medical Officer: the school dentist made 482 examinations, and this work was followed up in a large number of cases by the Care Committee, with a view to seeing the children received proper treatment for their defects and ailments.


In his annual report to the Bexhill Education Committee Dr. G.H.Weston states that during the year 1915 three ages were selected for inspection, namely five, mid-term and twelve, so as to give time for defects to be rectified before leaving. The total number of children inspected was 408, made up of 234 boys and 174 girls. Parents were present in 202 cases.

The care Committee have been anxious to initiate classes for dull and backward children, who are to a certain extent educable. It is hoped that by co-operation with an adjoining authority this may be arranged for.

The War, says the Medical Officer, has not so far brought any distress or want of employment to the district. On the contrary, there has been some scarcity of labour, and the children have been on the whole better clothed and fed than in the past. The Care Committee have not found it necessary to establish again free breakfasts, and have been able to restrict their allowance of milk to cases requiring it on medical grounds.


The following details of the examination were given:

  • Verminous Heads:- The improvement noticed last year has been maintained, and the exclusions from school on such account very few.
  • Clothing and footgear:- 90 per cent were noted as good, 9 per cent average, and one per cent bad. The standard was somewhat higher than last year.
  • Nutrition:- 85 per cent were good (1914, 91 per cent), 15 per cent, fair (1914, 15 per cent), none below normal (1914 one per cent).
  • Cleanliness of Head and Body:- Head: 99 per cent found clean (1914, 96 per cent); 5 cases somewhat dirty (1914, 4 per cent); 1 case dirty (1914, 2 cases). Body: 98 per cent found clean (1914, 97 per cent); 7 cases somewhat dirty (1914, 3 per cent); 2 cases dirty.
  • Teeth have been found good in 90 per cent, fairly good in 9 per cent and bad in one per cent. In 1914 the figures were 87 per cent, 9 per cent, and 4 per cent. The good works of the Dental Clinic are becoming apparent, if we can compare the results for the year 1913, viz., 72 per cent, 23 per cent and 5 per cent. The arrangements for the treatment of children over the age fixed for the Clinic by two other dentists at a reduced price were as before. It is hoped that with this improvement in condition of the teeth, the number of enlarged glands and tendency to appendix trouble will decrease.
  • Tonsils:- The slightest enlargements were carefully noted, and the parents attention called to the fact, as such enlargement may be caused by tubercular trouble and predisposes to catarrh and lodgement of germs. They were found slightly enlarged in 68 cases (16 per cent), and enlarged in 15 cases (4 per cent). In 1914 these figures were 18 per cent and 6 per cent.
  • Adenoids were found in 37 cases (9 per cent). In 1914 they were found in 10 per cent.
  • Gland:- Submaxillary and cervical generally, the former were found to be slightly enlarged in 61 cases (15 per cent), and enlarged in two cases. In 1914 these figures were 16 per cent and3 per cent.
  • External Eye Disease was found in 24 cases (6 per cent). The cases were mostly due to squint, marginal eczema, blepharitis and conjunctival irritation. In 1914 such conditions were found in 7 per cent.
  • Vision was found to be below normal in two cases. In three cases the question of glasses came under consideration. In 1914 four cases were found below normal.
  • Hearing was found below normal in four cases. 13 cases of some defect, such as discharge from ears, temporary deafness, probably from blocking eustachian tube and wax were noticed.
  • Speech was good in 97 per cent. Two children stammered, and lisp was noticed in 13. In 1914 the corresponding figures were 95 per cent, 2 and 26.
  • Mental Condition:- 92 per cent were found bright, 2 per cent fair, 2 per cent dull and 4 per cent backward. In 1914 89 per cent were found bright.
  • Heart and Circulation:- Some disturbance of circulation was found in 14 cases (4 per cent). In five cases murmurs were heard. In one some dilatation. In five weak action, two of whom were subject to fainting attacks, and in one rapid action (tachy cardia). In 1914 such disturbances were found in 17 cases. In all cases where found the parents and teachers were advised.
  • Lungs:- Some departure from normal was found in 17 cases (4 per cent). In 1914 it was found in 5 per cent. It was found to be chiefly due to frequent catarrhal conditions. One case of asthma and one of imperfect recovery after inflammatory condition were observed.
  • Nervous System:- 39 cases were observed or 7 per cent. (1914 13 per cent); 21 were excitable, 16 had frequent headaches, and one showed past infantile paralysis. One case had occasional fits.
  • Tuberculosis:- A tendency was found in 7 cases, or 2 per cent. (1914, 17 cases). This was generally shown by malnutrition, enlarged cervical glands, and frequent night perspiration. The parents were advised in all cases.
  • Rickets:- One case showed signs of rickets.
  • Deformities were found in four cases (1914 8 cases). Of these one child showed partial loss of power of right arm and another talipes.
  • Other diseases and defects were found in 34 cases, or 9 per cent (1914, 9 per cent). Amongst them may be noted phrenitis (2 cases), segems (6 cases), thread worms (4 cases) anaemia (10 cases), Pott’s disease (one case), dyspepsia (one case), enteric catarrh (one case).

The improved percentages, as compared with those examined in 1914 should be noted.


Mr C. H. Bradnam reports that the Dental Clinic was held on 38 Saturday mornings during the year. The children of the following schools were examined:- St Peter’s infants, Girls and Boys; The Down, Mixed and Infants, the Sluice, St. Mark’s, St. Barnabas’ Infants and Girls.

The tooth brush outfits, on sale at four pence, have been selling better during the latter part of 1915, but there is still a great lack of cleaning the teeth. In many homes there is only one toothbrush for the use of the whole family.

The following is an analysis of the work done during 1915:-

  • Number of children examined: 482
  • Children with sound teeth: 71
  • Children whose parent’s refused treatment: 138
  • Children who received complete treatment: 153
  • Children who received partial treatment: 39
  • Total children who received treatment: 192
  • Appointments given: 466
  • Appointments kept: 353
  • Appointments broken: 113
  • Fillings: 301
  • Dressings: 11
  • Number of extractions with injection: 439
  • Number of extractions with gas: 190
  • Number of gas cases: 54
  • Children who left Bexhill before they could receive treatment: 5
  • Extractions without any anaesthetic: 1
  • Number of scaling: 1

The percentage of “refusals” is rather high; this is accounted for partly by ill-health of some of the children, and also the distance in some cases from their homes. This is chiefly noticeable in the children of Sidley and Little Common. On the other hand, it is almost safe to say that there is not one “refusal” from the Sluice.

The sum of £9 17s was collected in six-penny fees from the parents towards the support of the Clinic.


Mrs Meads, hon. Secretary of the Care Committee, reports that the work of following up medical inspection in the Elementary Schools has now been in existence for seven years. The report for 1915 shows that out of 81 cases visited only 24 remain untreated. These figures fall short of 1914, but they are explainable by the prevailing conditions in the country. As there was practically no industrial distress in Bexhill, free breakfasts and milk in the schools were not given, as in two previous years.

There is a gradually increasing improvement noticeable; some of the parents come to seek advice and help without first being visited. Arrangements are in hand for having delicate children with reported tendency to tuberculosis thoroughly examined at the Tubercular Dispensary at Hastings and parents will be advised as to future treatment.

The question of dealing with mentally deficient, but educable children has been taken up by the Education Committee, and although it is necessarily in abeyance, owing to prevailing conditions in the country, it is only temporarily deferred.
Mrs Meads refers to the serious loss sustained by the death of Miss Jane Thornton, one of the founders of the Care Work, and one of its most loyal supporters.

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