Local Government Board: Public Health Department: Notification of Infectious Diseases, Correspondence and Papers
This series contains correspondence and papers of the Local Government Board's Public Health Department relating to the compulsory notification of infectious diseases, which was placed on a systematic footing by the Infectious Diseases (Notification) Act 1899. The series comprises correspondence with local authorities and papers about the act and earlier local acts, the rendering of tabulated weekly returns, additions to the diseases compulsorily notifiable, and the fees payable to medical practitioners for reporting cases of infectious diseases.
The Public Health Department was formed in 1876 to deal with administrative aspects of public health and vaccination functions taken over from the Privy Council Office and the Poor Law Board in 1871. These functions had formerly been carried out by the Medical Department under a medical officer who remained responsible to the Privy Council for medical research, but in 1876 most of its clerical staff were transferred to the new department. Thereafter administrative and professional aspects of public health work were dealt with separately by the two departments. Both departments included Food Branches, the one dealing with administrative matters, the other with inspection.
The Public Health Department maintained formal contact with local authorities and local medical officers of health, and gave general directions to the inspectorates under the Canal Boat Acts, the Food and Drugs Acts and, after the dissolution of the Metropolis Water Acts Department in 1884, the Metropolis Water Acts and the Alkali Acts. From that date it also undertook the formal registration of alkali works formerly performed by the Chief Clerk's Department.
The department was also responsible for administration of the medical inspection provisions of the Aliens Acts. It dealt with applications for loan sanctions in respect of hospitals for infectious diseases and mortuaries, and all proposals for constituting joint hospital districts under the Public Health Act 1875. The abolition of quarantine in 1896 and the adoption of a system of medical inspection of ships at ports of arrival gave extra duties to the department, which was responsible under the board for the supervision of port sanitary districts.
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