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Annual Report of the Ministry of Health

Nature volume 142, page 608 (01 October 1938) | Download Citation



THE principal vital statistics and the health services for England and Wales in 1937 are surveyed in the recently issued nineteenth annual report of the Ministry of Health, 1937-38 (London: H. M. Stationery Office. 5s. net). The estimated mid-year population was 41,031,000, the live births were 14.9, and the deaths 9-3, per 1,000 population. Maternal mortality in 1937 was at the record low level of 3.11 per 1,000 births, and great efforts are being made to reduce still further this distressing cause of death. The infant mortality rate was 58 per 1,000 live births, the lowest on record with one exception (1935). The death rate from all forms of tuberculosis was 657 per million population, and the various measures and schemes for the reduction of tuberculosis mortality are outlined. Only four cases of smallpox were notified during the year, but 55,896 cases of pneumonia were notified, compared with 46,167 cases the previous year. The increase appears to be attributable in part to an outbreak of influenza in the earlier part of the year. The notified cases of diphtheria were also more numerous than in 1936, but scarlet fever incidence was lower. Cancer deaths numbered 66,965, remaining much the same as in the previous two or three years. Much is said on housing and slum clearance, and 337,616 houses of a rateable value not exceeding £78 were completed during the year. The Ministry of Health Vote for 1937-38 amounted to the net sum of just over twenty-two million pounds.

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