Annual Medical Report for the Urban District from Dr McArthur

April 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, April 14th

The Annual Report

The annual report of Mr. Macarthur for 1922 shows that, according to the Registrar General´s estimate, the mid-year population of the Urban District was 14,410, and that the habited houses number 3,089. the average number of inhabitants per house works out at 5.3. the rateable value is £32,584, and a penny rate produces the respectable sum of £220.

During the year there were 570 births, and 189 deaths. Of the births 281 were boys and 289 girls. The death-rate per 1000 of the population was 11.45, whereas the death-rate for the whole of England and Wales was 12.9 per 1000, and this appears to be quite satisfactory. The birth-rate per 1000 of the population was for the Urban District 34.73 while that for England and Wales was 20.6. It will be noted that the birth-rate is extremely high compared with the country as a whole.

Bronchitis and pneumonia accounted for no less that 48 deaths or about one death in every four. There were 51 deaths of infants under one year of age, giving an infantile mortality rate of 87.4 per 1000 births; the country being 77. this means that about one out of every eleven children born in this area dies during its first year.

Tuberculosis is far too prevalent: During the year 52 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis were notified with 13 deaths, and three cases of non-pulmonary tuberculosis, with one death. Dr. Macarthus remarks: “the notification of tuberculosis still stands higher. It is evident, however, that the industry of the district, viz: Coal mining, has a considerable influence in the determination of this disease, and combined with overcrowding due to the excessive shortage of huses, the conditions are favourable for an increase in this dreaded disease”.

Dealing with sanitary administration, Dr. Macarthur reports that during the year four privies have been reconstructed as water closets, one water closet has been provided additional, to old property, and four water closets provided for new houses. In the urban district there are now one pail closet; 1794 privvy middens; 560 pedestal water closets; 183 trough water closets. Let us hope that a good deal more will be done in the way of conversions during the current year than in 1922.

The education Act of 1918 made it compulsory for all children to attend school until the end of the school term during which they reach the age of 14 years. This appears to be resented by a number of parents who appear to put the blame, if any blame attaches, sometimes upon the shoulders of the Education committee, sometimes upon the attendance officers, and on occasion the head teachers. This is a very unreasonable attitude to adopt, for the persons mentioned are only carrying out their appointed duties, which if they neglected, would speedily ensure censure. The County Education Committee has been at work overhauling the machinery for combating irregularity of attendance and this month will see the new method at work in this area.

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