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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 26th January, 1945
Doctors Going To The People
Mass Health Tests In Rushden Soon

  Northamptonshire’s venture in mass radiography for the early detection of Tuberculosis will begin at Rushden in April.  The team of experts engaged for the scheme went to London on Monday for special training and will soon be visiting Rushden factories.

  Dr. G. B. Lord, of Rushden House Sanatorium, made this announcement to an audience of Civil Defence workers at Rushden Legion Hall on Monday evening and asked Rushden people to give the new health policy a good send-off by volunteering for examination.

  “Our struggle has been to collar the patient at the very onset of the illness, when it is easier to cure him,” said the doctor.

  The disease was difficult to detect in its earliest stages, and by the time the patient went to the doctor the prospects of recovery were not too good.  The stethoscope was very useful, but it did not guarantee to find tuberculosis.   An X-ray examination was, however, remarkably helpful in finding out the extent of the disease and where it was.

  One method of X-ray examination was to take a picture of the chest.  Another way was to put the patient behind a fluorescent screen and get a living image – but not a permanent record – of his chest.

X-Ray Pictures

  Mass radiography was a method by which instead of waiting for people to come to them, the doctors were going to the people.  Miniature pictures would be taken on 35 m.m. film by means of a camera with a special lens through a tunnel running down to the fluorescent screen.  The film was projected on to a screen to give a picture about 7 in. by 10 in.  If there was anything abnormal on that miniature film the subject was asked to go again for a full X-ray examination and, if necessary, other tests as well.

  The intention was to build up the apparatus inside a factory or canteen, and then they would expect the employees to volunteer for examination – though there was no compulsion whatever.  As many as 120 people could be photographed in an hour.

  To prevent any possible mistake in the identity of the pictures each person had a card with a serial number on it, and the card was put into the machine and photographed on to the film.  The machine would not work until the card was in it.

Factory Visits

  The scheme was ultimately for the benefit of everybody, and it was hoped that well over 90 per cent. of the factory employees in Rushden would co-operate.  Repeated visits would be made to each factory, and the method would be continued until the disease was very much more under control than it was at present.  Experience showed that only three or four persons out of every thousand examined were suffering from active tuberculosis of the lungs, but those three or four were very important people, because if they broke down badly they might infect their workmates and their own children as well as becoming unemployable owing to ill health.

  Of 35,000 patients discharged from or dying in sanatoria in England and Wales in 1938, 65 per cent. were advanced cases on admission.  It was high time to cancel such terrible results, and the new scheme aimed at doing so.  Within 10 years they expected to control the disease much more efficiently than they had ever done in the past, and they would then expect a reduction in new cases.

  The County Council had assembled a team of seven technicians and though all were experts they were having further special training before opening their work at Rushden.

  “We want a good beginning.” urged Dr. Lord, asking his audience to help the campaign by volunteering personally and persuading others to do so.

  The meeting was presided over by the Deputy Chief Warden, Mr. G. C. N. Fountain.

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