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Swinton Poor Law Schools (Ophthalmia)

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will state the number of children at present suffering from ophthalmia in the Swinton, Manchester, Poor Law schools; the duration of the present epidemic; if there have been other outbreaks of this disease during the last three years; and the number of children affected by each outbreak?

I am informed that there are at present seventy-eight children belonging to the Swinton schools who are suffering from ophthalmia and other affections of the eye, many of the cases being of a mild type, and are being maintained, treated, and educated in a temporary building specially erected in the school grounds. This building is some distance from the main school, and the children in it do not come into contact with the healthy children. Two or three years ago the guardians appointed an ophthalmic surgeon who examined the eyes of each child in the schools and removed to separate accommodation every child whose eyes were affected in any way whatever. Since this appointment was made there has been a gradual diminution of the number of children under treatment. No children are allowed to be transferred from the ophthalmic building to the main buildings of the schools until the ophthalmic surgeon is satisfied that there is no possibility of a recurrence of the trouble, and consequently there are no cases of ophthalmia at present among the children in the main portion of the school. The returns show that in December, 1911, there were 162 cases under treatment, as compared with the present figure of 78.