Looking back at the week's top stories - as reported by HSJ and its predecessor titles

Published: 01/07/2004, Volume II3, No. 5912 Page

From the Poor Law Officers' Journal, 1 July 1904

Mr JJ White, the Master of the Epsom Workhouse, particularly desired to impress upon the younger Masters the need for efficiency and aptitude. The older generation of Masters was dying out, and a new generation was coming forward, who had to deal with the Workhouses as homes for the sick and infirm and the aged poor. The idea of a Workhouse as a penal place was passing along rapidly, and during the last 25 years altogether new conditions had risen in refunds to out of door relief. We believe that in this matter Mr White has interpreted rightly the signs of the times.

From the Health and Social Service Journal, 4 July 1954

The King's Fund Hospital Administrative Staff College and the first study group set up by it are to be congratulated on the research report dealing with hospital bed occupancy - probably the key problem in present-day hospital administration. Two main forms of possible arrangement are outlined - an alliance between a relatively over-hospitalised central area and less well provided Hospital Groups further out; and regular meetings of officers of several adjoining Hospital Groups to discuss bed occupancy problems over a wide area. The overall planning of medical services is a Regional Board function, but a hospital is free to make a short-term re-allocation of beds to allow the temporary vacancy in one department to be used for easing waiting-list pressure in another. This, it is urged, might apply particularly during seasonal lulls and holiday periods, when wastage frequently occurs. So far as waiting lists are concerned it is stressed that it is the analysis of the length of wait that is so valuable. It is not sufficient to give the time waited by the person longest on the lists but to be able to see at a glance how the main body of the 'routine' cases is faring and be able to check whether some of them are waiting so long that they have to be upgraded in medical priority. Nevertheless, high occupancy or short turnover are neither of them ends in themselves, or evidence of effective use of beds.

The reduction of long waiting lists is the major objective and the increased number of patients treated successfully to a conclusion the most important index of achievement.