The beginnings of a Health Service in Welwyn Garden City

The first meeting of the Health Council. 11th April 1922

By Susi Smith

Health Council Minutes 1922
Welwyn Garden City Library
Health Council Minutes 1922
Welwyn Garden City Library
Health Council Minutes 1922
Welwyn Garden City Library

The first meeting of the Welwyn Garden City Health Council was held on 11th April 1922, with Dr Clark as Chairman, Mr Osborn as Vice Chairman, Mr Reiss as Hon Secretary and Miss Williams as Assistant Secretary.

The records of the Committee form a unique archive in the local studies collection at Welwyn Garden City Library and throws light on the huge task that lay before the committee in 1922.

The first meeting had as item 5…Applications to practice in Welwyn Garden City. An application had been received from Dr Vance to practice medicine, and from Mr Hoare to practice as a dentist in Welwyn Garden City.The question for the Council to decide was what action they should take in the matter.

Before Dr Fry withdrew from the discussions, he expressed the view that the minimum of restriction by the Council should be exercised so as not to limit the right of the citizens to chose their medical practitioner. If it were decided to make selections, efforts should be made to obtain the services of general practitioners who specialised in some branch of medicine, so as to form the nucleus of a complete National Health Service.

The committee resolved to attempt to eliminate entirely unsuitable applicants. It was moved and carried that three members of the Committee be appointed to interview Dr Vance and that he be asked “whether he would be willing to co-operate with the Council in the future in any endeavour to organize the Health Service of the town”

Mr Hoare’s application was considered and it was agreed that the opinion of workers living in Hertford be obtained before answering his letter.

Meeting of the Welwyn Garden City Health Council 8th May 1922.

Mr Reiss reported that after the last meeting Dr Vance had wired for an immediate interview as a good opening at Wimbledon was awaiting his acceptance. He prefered to come to Welwyn Garden City in the hope of improving his extremely bad health. Taking all into consideration those interviewing him advised the Directors of Welwyn Garden City not to grant him permission to practice in the city.

The enquiries made repecting Mr Hoare were entirely satisfactory and the Directors had therefore advised to grant him permission to commence practice as a Dentist in the City

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The First Annual General Meeting of the Welwyn Garden City Health Council took place on Monday 23 April 1923, in the Stores annexe.  The first balance sheet for the Council was presented showing a balance of £89 in the Bank.  Despite this positive amount, the expenses incurred during the year had barely been covered by subscriptions and an appeal was made to all residents to become members and help in the scheme for the maintenance of the health of Welwyn Garden City.  The following year was no different, but particular thanks were given to the Barnstormers for a donation of £14 1s. 1d., and to Miss Phyllis Kitley who gave 25s. as the result of a small dance in aid of the Health Council.

Costs incurred during the second year of activity included First Aid and District Nursing (£58. 16s. 6d), Infant Welfare Clinic (£136 4s. 0d) and Dental clinic (£18 14s 7d).

During 1925 a recommendation was made that a telephone should be installed for the District Nurse.  Schools were also to be asked if the issue of Virol and Cod Liver Oil to school children would be possible. 

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This page was added on 15/02/2015.

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