Report By The Commissioner Of The Board Of Control 1929

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West Riding Mental Hospital,

Menston, near Leeds,

9th October, 1929.

We began our inspection of this Hospital yesterday, when we saw all the female patients, leaving the male side until to-day. We are glad to be able to report that we have found things generally in a very satisfactory condition, and the patients for the most part happy and contented. Since the last visit of inspection by two of our colleagues much work of an important nature has been completed, and it is clear that the Committee are determined to keep their fine Hospital on a level with modern requirements. Much re-decoration has been completed and repairs both inside and out, and many of the paths in the ward gardens have been renovated. A ne-w office has been built for the Chief Nurse, a new Garage provided for the Lorry, improvement has been made in the lighting of the Stage, a new verandah has- been added to Male Ward12, afire escape has been added to the Farm residence, two hard tennis courts have been provided, a new hair teasing machine has been procured, and very many other improvements made of a minor character. The works now in progress include a new residence for the Assistant Medical Officer, a new sewing room, a new verandah for No. 22 Ward, urinals in some of the ward gardens and some smaller works. Most of the women we saw in the wards yesterday the day being very threatening, but to-day we saw the majority of the men in the ward gardens. We endeavoured to give everyone an opportunity of talking to us, and had a large number of interviews, including 5 private  interviews at the request of patients;


Several patients spoke to us of the kindness they had received from the Medical and Nursing Staff.


The patients were well clothed and shod, but our enquiries led us to believe that there was a shortage of indoor slippers and of overcoats for cold weather. In some of the wards on the female side there seemed to be a shortage of writing paper and envelopes, and though we were told the supply is not in any way stinted, we think it important that the charge nurses should keep an ample supply in their cupboards for immediate use.  The wards and dormitories were very well kept and comfortable, and the beds and bedding clean and suitable, We noticed that there seemed to be a shortage  of  screens for dividing the baths on the female side, and we much hope that this will be remedied  and that they will be used whenever possible as we are satisfied that bathing without them is a real hardship and a distressing, ordeal for many patients.


The W.O. accommodation in many of the wards is very inadequate, and many of the W.C.’s are still without doors. Inthe laundry we thought that the ‘belting of  the’ hydro extractors needed some further guarding .to prevent the .possibility of accident.


We cannot help feeling that some of the female wards were understaffed at the time we visited them, 3 wards with over 80 patients in them had only 3 nurses in them, and in each of these wards there were two or more patients on special caution cards. The changes which have ^taken place since the last visit have left on the books the names of 1,872 patients, but  as 10 patients were out on trial at the time of our visit ‘the ‘number that we actually saw was 1,862 of whom 906 were men -and 956 were women. Two hundred and twenty-one patients were allowed out on trial, money allowances being granted in 76 cases. Parole beyond -the .grounds .is granted to 20 men .and within the grounds to 52 men.


The overcrowding in the Hospital is a matter for serious consideration ‘there being an excess of 31 men and 56 women by day, and  49 men and 49 women by night -over the authorised space allowance.


The treatment centre consisting of an operating theatre, a dental room and rooms for treatment by X-Ray and Violet Rays has now been completed, and is gradually coming into full use.


We have no doubt that it will prove to be a-most valuable addition to the Hospital, and -we would suggest-that full records should be kept of all the various treatments carried -out in it. Good work continues to be carried out in the laboratory, particularly in connection with the treatment of -general paralysis by induced malaria, and in carrying out numerous routine tests.


A trained assistant works here under ‘the supervision of the medical staff. There is little sickness in the Hospital at the  present time, and we were satisfied that those in  bed, for any reason, were receiving careful attention and treatment, but we should like to know that greater use is made of  the verandahs for open-air

nursing both day and night.


The equipment on the sick  wards would  be improved by the addition of a glass-topped trolley for surgical dressings, etc  A severe epidemic of influenza visited the Hospital in the early months of the year, causing unfortunately 12 deaths amongst the patients, but apart from this, the general “health has been good,  and  last year the death rate  fell to 8.25  per cent. after being 11.32 per cent. for the previous year.  Except for -two cases  complicated by accidental fractures one of which occurred before admission and for two caused by a suicidal act, one of which took place whilst the patient  was on trial, all the deaths were due to natural causes and call for no Special mention.


Inquests were held concerning the excepted cases and the circumstances of each were duly reported to our Board at the time. Only 3 serious but non-fatal casualties, all due to accidental falls, have been recorded during the past 20 months.


Dr. Edgerley has as his. deputy Dr. R. 0. Walker and 4 other assistant medical officers. A consulting surgeon has now been appointed and visits for consultations and to operate whenever the medical staff desire him to do so. Other consultants can also be called in whenever necessity arises.



Commissioners of the Board of Control.

Memoranda on Commissioners’ Report.

(1) Shortage of indoor Slippers and Overcoats for Male Patients’.

(2) Shortage of Writing Paper and Envelopes on the Female side.

(3) Shortage of Screens for dividing the Baths on the Female side.

(4) W.C. accommodation inadequate in many of the Wards, many WC’s. still without doors.

(5) Laundry. Belting of the Hydro Extractors need further guarding.

(6) Suggestion that some of the Female Wards are understaffed in each of these Wards there were two or more patients onspecial caution cards,

(7) Overcrowding in the Hospital is a matter for serious consideration.      .

(8) Suggestion that full-records should be kept of all the various treatments carried out in the treatment centre.

(9) Suggested greater use of Verandahs for open-air nursing by day and night.

(10) Suggested improvement of Equipment of Sick Wards by the addition of a Glass-topped Trolley for Surgical Dressings, etc.