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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 6th March, 1936, transcribed by Gill Hollis.

£23,850 Scheme for Sanatorium
Replacing Present Huts with Built Wards at Rushden

Helping Needy Patients

  A very important scheme of development at the County Sanatorium at Rushden House, estimated to cost £23,850, was brought before the Northants County Council to-day (Thursday) by the Public Health Committee.

  The Public Health Committee states that they have had under consideration a report from the Tuberculosis Institution Sub-Committee of a programme of development at Rushden House which had been framed by the County Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the Medical Superintendent, with a view to an estimate being prepared of capital commitments over a period of years.

  This programme had been rendered necessary by the fact that the wooden pavilions, consisting of adapted Army hutting, which had been utilised since 1929, were not capable of continued use without extensive repairs and replacements of such a character as to make the course uneconomical.  The pavilions were unheated throughout the year and largely open to the weather, which had accelerated their deterioration.

  There had been complaints from general practitioners and patients that the wards were cold and damp, and medical opinion was unanimous that buildings of their character were no longer suitable for the modern treatment of tuberculosis.

New Buildings

  The programme contemplated the gradual replacement of the existing wooden pavilions by permanent structures.  The existing accommodation consists of 84 beds, 56 of them in the unheated pavilions, while 14 advanced male cases were in the administrative buildings, and 14 female advanced cases in the hospital buildings erected in 1933.

  Ten of the ambulance beds were usually occupied by patients sent for treatment by the London County Council under an arrangement which brought an income to the institution of about £1,000 a year.  It appeared that the L.C.C. was increasing its own provision and were unlikely to continue to send patients for any protracted period.

  Another point was that the assistant resident medical officer now used as his quarters premises previously occupied by the night nursing staff, and the staff was temporarily accommodated in the administrative buildings.  In view of these circumstances and the contemplated X-ray installation, the committee were satisfied that the administrative block should cease to be used for patients.  The existing dining room accommodation for nurses and maids was unsatisfactory and it was suggested that it should be used for maids only and that the patients’ dining room should be used by the nurses and ground floor accommodation be utilised for the patients’ dining room.

  Under this arrangement the administrative block would be wholly available for the nursing staff, the X-ray apparatus and for administrative purposes.

Proposed Wards

  So far as the replacement by permanent structures of the existing wooden pavilions was concerned, the committee proposed to erect at a cost of £7,000 in an adjoining field, adjacent to the new hospital block, a hospital block to accommodate 20 beds for females.  They also proposed that a two-storied block, to cost £12,000 be erected on the site of one of the existing pavilions for 34 male patients, the advance cases to be dealt with on the ground floor, and the convalescents above, and that a new block for 12 children be erected at a cost of £4,200 on the site of the existing women’s pavilion.

  This would give a total accommodation of 80 beds.  The question of allocation might have to be revised as the scheme progressed, and the preliminary estimates included demolition costs, furnishing and the construction of paths and approaches.

  So far as the expenditure of £7,000 on the first building was concerned, it had been framed in the light of the present tendency towards increased building costs and should prove adequate.  The other estimates must necessarily be regarded as tentative.

  The committee proposed that authorisation be given to them to proceed to secure tenders for the first block.

The Programme

  The programme in brief is mapped out as follows: 1936-7, erect second bungalow building at cost of £7,000; 1937-8, remove patients from first floor of administrative block and adapt it to house staff, £200; commence erection of two-storied building for men, £12,000, kitchen improvements £450; 1938-9 continue erection of buildings begun in previous year; 1939-40, commence demolition of women’s and children’s pavilions and erect new building for children, £4,200; 1940-41, completion of programme.

  In connection with the sanatorium the X-ray apparatus from the Wellingborough tuberculosis dispensary is to be installed, and this will entail additions to the staff, and the Public Health Committee recommended appointment, on the completion of the X-ray installation, of one sister and one maid.

Extra Nourishment

  The County Council has adopted the practice of granting extra nourishment, mainly in the form of milk, to certain tuberculous persons, and provision to the extent of £210 has previously been made in the estimates for this work.

  In addition District After-Care Committees were established in 1928.  In certain urban areas these committees were active and had considerable voluntary funds at their disposal but in some of the more scattered areas, owing to difficulties in organisation and lack of funds, tuberculous patients received little or no assistance.  There were 687 persons on the dispensary register at December 31st last, 161 of whom lived in rural areas.

  The committee has provided in the estimates for the ensuing year for assistance to patients and their families in rural areas, and to supplement where necessary the efforts of voluntary committees to provide assistance in urban areas.  They propose that the assistance shall be administered by their standing sub-committee upon reports from the Tuberculosis Officer, and the assistance shall take the form broadly of the provision of foodstuffs, clothes, beds, bedding, nursing and domestic assistance, and in exceptional cases of the payment in whole or part of the rent or the subsidised re-housing of the families.

  The committee are advised that tuberculosis should be regarded as a disease which leads to destitution and that action on the lines proposed may avoid destitution and prevent the spread of infection.  Grants will be conditional on active co-operation of the patient and family with the officer, who may impose such restrictions as thought fit, on the patients’ routine and require the family to undergo regular clinical examination.

  For the purpose of this extended scheme the estimate has been increased from£210 to £425.

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