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Miss Sidney Browne Matron-in-Chief Hospital Inspection
The Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, was visited on 13th March 1903 by Miss Sidney Browne, Matron-in-Chief, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Here is her inspection report.
The following is from The National Archives WO243/21.
I visited this hospital on March 13th, 1903. I inspected all the sisters' wards and annexes and quarters, and saw the messing books.
The staff consists of a Matron, Miss Knox, and 12 Sisters.
Some are still in lodgings, but they are building huts for them, but only for the present staff. They are not providing sufficient accommodation for the members of the new staff, which will shortly be ready to proceed to Aldershot. Accommodation could easily be given by taking another hut. They are providing for a matron and 11 sisters, and would require accommodation for six more. They would also have to allow for an extra sitting room. There would be enough accommodation for servants.
Nearly all the wards in this hospital are in charge of sisters, and look very clean and well-cared for.
The linen of the beds was clean, but might be ironed better.
More cupboards are wanted before the new staff take up their duties; and dusters, tea cloths, medicine cloths, and cloths for drying utensils are required.
There ought to be a small table in every ward with a jug and basin on it for the doctor's use, and where the sister or staff nurse could sit to do her clerical work.
Some of the bedsteads in this hospital are of the old-fashioned pattern, very low, with sacking instead of springs, but I believe they are gradually changing them.
Dressing Waggon and Boxes:
The sisters in the surgical wards also want boxes for dressings, dressing waggons in each surgical ward, and more towels and dressing trays, and glass jars for swabs and dressings.
They want more screens very badly. Some wards have no screens at all. They ought to be of a lighter pattern, with washing covers. Those at present used are very heavy for the staff nurses to lift, and cannot be washed.
Armchairs and feather pillows - Pails:
The patients want more armchairs with better covers, the covers are very thin and get dirty directly. Also more feather pillows, and pails with lids for soiled dressings.
Some larger glass syringes
A couch for each ward for acute cases, and a wheeled chair for each surgical ward, and sterilizer.
Shelves for the bed-pans and other vessels in lavatory, and rail for mackintoshes, and table on which to scrub them.
Clothes required:- Dusters, tea-cloths, and medicine cloths. Cloths for lavatory and to cover bed-pan.
Receptacle with cover for soiled linen from enteric ward
I visited the depot and heard Miss Wilson give a lecture to the recruits. She lectured well and clearly, and the men seemed interested. They made notes which she corrected afterwards, and held a class on the subject of the lectures, and asked questions, and gave the men marks for their answers.
Some of them showed a much greater aptitude than others and took more interest in the work, and I should think would make good orderlies for the nursing section.
The officers' wards want refurnishing. Some of the furniture is very old and worn, and a new dinner service is required and a few jugs and hot-water cans.
The arrangement for the dinner in the evening is not quite satisfactory. The colonel thought it would be a good thing for those who were allowed ordinary diet to be made honorary members of their mess for dinner. The only objection to this is that they would have to pay their hospital stoppages of 2s. 6d. a day, and their dinner would be an extra expense. I think it would be best to make arrangements for one cook to remain on duty for this purpose.
The cases such as fractures who are allowed ordinary diet require a meal in the evening; this used to be arranged by keeping a certain amount of food which was cooked at luncheon time and warmed up in the evening, but this arrangement was very unsatisfactory. So the superintending sister has the dinner cooked by her cook and sent over to the sick officers. She ought not to have to do this. I would suggest that a hospital cook be told off for this duty.
Sisters' Quarters - Messing accounts:
I inspected all the mess books and saw the receipts. I found them well and clearly kept, and the housekeeping appeared to be done well and economically. There were no complaints about the food.
Servants: I would suggest that the money allowed for all the servants be drawn and signed for by the Matron, and that the servants sign a receipt for their wages to her when she pays them, so that the Matron may apportion the money as she thinks best. So that if she is allowed to draw £40 a year for a cook and housemaid, she might engage a cook for £25 if she likes, and a housemaid for £15. I would be easier for her to get good servants if this were allowed.
Some special linen might be provided and kept for the mortuary.
(Signed) SIDNEY BROWNE Matron-in-Chief
With thanks to Keith Bean Historic Aldershot Military Town Facebook Page.
See also the Aldershot Military Hospital Original Plans.
Stanhope Lines Aldershot Garrison
Read about the history of the Cambridge Military Hospital.
Secret Tunnel CMH Aldershot Undertakers.
Army Student Nurse memories of the CMH.
Grey Lady Ghost.
Inspectors Report 1902 by Surgeon-General Keogh and Mr Fripp Cambridge Military Hospital
Lady Superintendent Louise Margaret Hospital Aldershot.
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