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HH62/2/ROSS/39

Transcription

[Page] 38

is a good well close to the school, but some plan of pumping
the water into the building itself should be adopted, and
lavatories supplied for the use of the pupils. Additions are
being made to the accommodation.

I have thus visited and carefully inspected, from the public
health point of view, almost all the schools on the mainland,
with the exception of a few in Gairloch, and one or two in
Lochbroom. In the Lews the majority have not been so
visited. The County Sanitary Inspector has kindly given me
an opportunity of consulting the notes of his inspections.
Generally, I find the ventilation is defective, and where there
are W.C.'s, and there seem to be many in the Lews, a large
number of them are out of order. They are usually supplied
with water from a force pump, and, if this fails, of course the
closets are not flushed, and become a source of danger to the
health of the children, and a nuisance generally.

So much for inquiries ex proprio motu. I shall next take
up the other branch of my proceedings, matter, in which I have
given advice or rendered assistance other than those connected
directly with infectious disease, which will be dealt with under
a division of their own.

The largest portion of my time and attention has been
devoted to arranging the organisation of public health service
in the County. Ross and Cromarty, besides having one-third
of its population situated at a distance by sea of nearly eight
hours' steaming from Strome Ferry; has the other two-thirds
very much scattered, and the configuration of the land and
water is such that it is necessary in travelling, if saving of
time is the main object, to return to the centre and start afresh.
It is simply impossible for one M O. H. to be at once the
County and District servant unless he is expected to be half
the year from home. Even with the Lews cut off, a very large
portion of his time would be wasted on the road and great
expense incurred. It became therefore necessary to devise a
scheme of a central authority with efficient local assistance,
and after many meetings and much deliberation, the County
Council, through its Public Health Committee, fixed upon the
plan of giving the services of the County Medical Officer and
Sanitary Inspector gratis, as Head District Officers, provided
the Districts themselves afforded the necessary help on the
spot. The Mid Ross, Western, South Western, and Black Isle
Districts have agreed to this proposal, but have not as yet
quite settled on the District Staff. No difficulty is apprehended

[Page] 39

on this score. The Lewis and Easter Ross Districts have not
up to this time come to a decision on the subject. I believe this
scheme, if adopted, will satisfy the Board of Supervision, and I
am sure is the one most likely to work without friction and
to the greatest advantage of the Public Health. It will enlist
almost every medical man in the County in the army of
sanitarians, and if disease is to be quickly, safely, and
pleasantly stamped out, this is the most promising way of
doing it.

The other matters in which I was engaged, were visiting
and reporting on a ruinous tenement in Lochcarron, visiting
and corresponding with the Highland Railway Company in re-
gard to insanitary surfacemen's houses at Coulin, which they
promised to renew; inspecting Tarradale village on several
occasions, where the water was deficient and the drainage bad;
attending a public meeting at Alness in connection with pro-
posed introduction of water, and giving advice and assistance
to the Easter Ross District Committee in regard to nuisances
alleged to exist at Culisse. It may be useful to enlarge upon
this latter, as it may form a precedent in regard to the manner
of dealing with such cases. The District Sanitary Inspector
had found some sanitary defects in the farm house and had
reported his opinion to the Local Authority, going the length
of condemning the house as a nuisance. His zeal outran his
discretion in so far as he should have first courteously asked
the proprietors to have the nuisance abated. If he had done
so it is said the mischief would at once have been put right.
This has invariably been the practice of the County M. O. H.
and S. I., and in every case our recommendations have, as
soon as possible, been complied with. The County S. I.
and myself advised this course to be taken in the Culisse
case, and I have lately seen a letter from the District Sanitary
Inspector stating that everything has been carried out to
his satisfaction. While the Public Health Officers of the
County are ready to hear all complaints and most anxious to
discover and remedy all nuisances, they are very loth to take
the high hand; or be guilty of anything like oppression of
the rich or poor. It is past the wit of man for instance to
devise a W.C. which will exclude every atom of sewer gas.
The best must be made of the existing arrangements, and let
me add much, very much, depends on the personal, close,
steady supervision of the tenant over traps, ventilation open-
ings and discharges.

It is to the next Division (d) of our syllabus that we must look
chiefly for fruit from our proceedings. With the general adop-
tion of the Notification of Infectious Diseases Act - an adoption

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