Transcription: Town Nursing Association report Bexhill Observer 18th Jan 1919

From the Bexhill Observer 18th January 1919

Important Health Work
All To Co-operate

A meeting convened by the Mayor, Alderman G.H.Gray, J.P. in support of a Town Nursing Association was held on Wednesday afternoon at the Town Hall. In a circular appealing for a representative attendance the Mayor explained that the St. Peter’s Nursing Association and the St. Barnabas’ Nursing Association had for many years supplied the nursing needs of the town, and cheerfully accepted the financial burden. With the increased responsibilities thrown upon the communities, and the necessity for close co-ordination with the Local Authorities charged with the administration of the Maternity and Child Welfare Act, the time had come to unite and extend the voluntary and official work within the borough. The Town Nursing Association would undertake Maternity and Child Welfare work, and provide such further nursing services as the district might require. The work would include (subject to slight reservation) general nursing and nursing associated with maternity, child welfare and epidemic diseases, and it was proposed that the Association should affiliate with the Queens’s Institute for Nurses and the East County Nursing Federation.

The Mayor presided. Others present included the Deputy Mayor (Councillor F. W. Vane, D.S.O.), Miss Glass (Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute), Miss Randolph (County Superintendent East Sussex County Nursing Federation), Alderman J.B. Wall, J.P., Alderman J.V.Paton, J.P., the Town Clerk (Mr T.E.Rodgers), Councillors A.G.Wells and R.C. Hampton, the Rev. H.W.Maycock, the Rev E.H.Leale, the Rev F. Mortlock and Mrs Mortlock, the Rev J. Osborne, Mrs Meades, and a number of other ladies, and most of the local doctors.

The Mayor said that the Maternity and Child Welfare Act had been admirably worked, but necessarily on a somewhat limited scale. The borough had been developing, and in view of the Act, the Local Government Board had been pressing the Authorities to take action. It was not with any idea of interfering with the excellent work which had been carried out. He hoped they would amalgamate, and retain those who had proved so valuable, but keep the work under an organised head. The work was of vast importance, especially now, after the War.


Miss Glass said it was a happy augury that the public authorities had sought to co-operate with the voluntary District Nursing Associations. The voluntary associations had done magnificent spade-work in the past; but it was necessary that the work should be established on a sounder basis, especially in regard to the Nurses’ salaries, because it had been very difficult to raise the salaries by voluntary subscriptions. Under the existing conditions, they might find the same home visited by half-a-dozen different officials, where one or two should be sufficient. A Queen’s Nurse had a standard of efficiency and special training to meet the problems found in the homes of the people. Loyal co-operation with medical men was one of their principles; that did not mean that they could not attend emergency cases before a doctor. The great desire in this scheme was co-operation. It was a splendid move. It was going to be not simply attending the sick, but very largely preventive work.

The Mayor said the work would mean a considerable amount of organisation, and they would look to those who had been working in the past to help. There was no necessity for alleviation, but for re-organisation as well as enlarging the scope. They hoped those who had worked in the past would not relax their efforts and that they would join the Committee. They could look to the Treasury for a grant, and they would hope for a moderate subscription from the inhabitants. It would really be less of a burden than it had been.

Alderman Paton moved that “The Bexhill Nursing Association be formed; that application be made for affiliation to the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute of Nurses and the East Sussex County Nursing Federation; that the Association undertake the skilled nursing for the sick and poor and the working classes in the borough, and also such nursing and health work as was contemplated by the Maternity and Child Welfare Act, 1918, with the provision of midwives, and such public health nursing as the Association might think proper to undertake, with the approval and concurrence of the appropriate Local Authority.” He should like to add to the mead of praise given by the Mayor and Miss Glass to the Nursing Associations which already existed in the town. They had done splendid work, and had undertaken a burden which really should have fallen on the whole town.


Everyone would agree that the time had come when the burden should be shared by the whole town, and also they wished that those Associations would continue to give the benefit of their experiences. There had been lately a very large extension of the Maternity and Child Welfare Act, and it was quite probable that, when the new Ministry of Health got into its stride, there would be another large extension in its duties. Out-lining some of these duties Alderman Paton said he did not know whether it would be necessary to have a Crèche in Bexhill. Very shortly he hoped Bexhill would become its own Maternity and Child Welfare Centre. It was quite justified by the size of their population, and their position in the County. Practically all the population between Hastings and Eastbourne belonged to Bexhill. With their own Centre, they would be able to co-ordinate their work. The Public Health Committee of the Town Council should be acquainted with everything that was going on. To obtain the Treasury grants, it was necessary to be associated. They would receive half the salaries they were paying to Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors, less fees they received through Maternity and Child Welfare. They were entitled to the whole of other fees received for general nursing. Some people might say, “Why not do it all through the rates?” There were several objections. In that way the work would be much more costly. The Council at present had more work than it could undertake. Then, again, they had no women on the Council, and this was essentially women’s work. A Town Nursing Association run on proper business lines, was a wonderful bond of sympathy between all classes. He hoped that some ladies who had been doing such splendid work for the Red Cross would transfer that to the new Association. It was a sacred duty imposed on every citizen to care for the sick and poor, and little children of Bexhill.

Alderman Wall seconded.

The Rev. H.W.Maycocks welcomed the scheme. It had been the dream of their lives that the things Alderman Paton spoke of should be carried out. Things they had longed for were likely to come about.

The Rev. J. Osbourne, speaking as a Non-conformist, said that they had been for many years indebted to the good work of these Associations. They had such a name and reputation for good work that it was a testimony to their high-mindedness and practical goodwill to be willing to come into that scheme. He hoped it would receive the full and entire sympathy and public conscience of the town.

Dr. Weston endorsed the thanks to the Associations. Now, he said, they must look ahead, and they had to take care of the children from birth to school age. A uniform system of health visiting commended itself to everybody.

The Mayor said it was important to retain the social and personal element. People then took much more interest in a thing than if it were put on the rates.

The resolution was carried.

In answer to a question, the Mayor intimated that the working of the scheme would commence from the 1st April.


The following were appointed as a General Committee. The Mayor, the Mayoress, Deputy Mayor, Chairman of the Public Health Committee, Medical Officer of Health and Town Clerk, the Bexhill representative on the County Council and the Guardians; the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Lady members of Bexhill Education Committee; the Bexhill clergy and ministers of all denominations, the general medical practitioners, the members of the Committees of St. Peter’s and St. Barnabas’ Nursing Associations, and representatives of Bexhill Sisterhood, the Friendly Societies and the Trades and Labour Council.

The Rev. E. Mortlock expressed pleasure at the appreciation of the past work of the Associations, which had been entirely undenominational. This was a work which, happily, they could all unite in most earnestly. It would make great demands on the Secretary. A paid Secretary would be necessary if the work was efficiently done. He did not know whether the Executive had power to make that a paid appointment.

The Mayor said they hoped they might start with a voluntary Secretary. Perhaps they had been spoilt in Bexhill. They had so many good ladies willing to take up work. He thanked the many doctors for coming.

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