VISITED ON 18th NOVEMBER 1902 by SURGEON-GENERAL KEOGH and Mr. FRIPP, without notice

      Equipped for 580 beds. – Number of patients on day of visit was under 250.

      Medical Officer in charge, Lieut.-Colonel Hubbard. – This Officer has only been here 6 months, but he states that with the exception of one Civil Surgeon who is in charge of the X-Ray department, he has not had the continuous service of any one of the Officers upon the staff for that period; indeed, most of the posts have had two or three occupants in the time. Obviously this constant change must be detrimental to the even and efficient working of so large and important a hospital and training centre, and we hope that in the future it may be found possible to ensure to the Officer in command of the hospital the undivided services of at least four of his Officers for an unbroken tenure of 12 months each, without their being liable to be ordered to other duty by the Principal Medical Officer of the district.
      The staff of Nursing Sisters varies from 8 to 10, and their quarters are not large enough even for this number.

     Situation – Excellent and convenient.

     Structure – Brick and stone, on the two-storied pavilion system with connecting corridors, in excellent state of preservation, and well suited for its purpose.
     Water supply said to be all that can be desired.

     Lighting – In day time excellent, but after dark the gas jets are inadequate and inconvenient, and electric light should be installed.

     Wards – Large, airy and good. The heating is by means of open fires which in very cold weather, or when coal is scarce, is hardly adequate.
      A dressing wagon, furnished with a sterilizer, metal boxes for dressing materials, suitable lotion jars and receiving trays, and capable of being easily wheeled to each bedside, should be provided in each surgical ward. More cupboards are required for the storing of dressings, spare linen, mackintoshes, enema syringes, glass syringes, etc. The easy chairs and the tables might, without great difficulty and expense, be made to contribute something to the comfort and appearance of the wards, instead of detracting from therefrom, as they do in all the military hospitals that I have seen. Wash-hand bowls and jugs for surgeons’ use are needed in the wards.
      There is sufficient and good accommodation for sick Officers, and the one patient in this department at the date of our visit had nothing but praise for the way he had been tended.
We were glad to note that the plan is in operation of accumulating the gravely-ill cases, and so concentrating the work of the Nursing Sisters where it can be of great service. We should like to see this plan universally adopted, so that in each military hospital of over 100 beds there would be a ‘serious’ and a ‘slight’ division; and we think that a bed letter and temperature chart should hang at each bed-head in the serious division [at least], for the immediate information of any Medical Officer or Nursing Sister who may be freshly brought into responsibility in the case.

     Sanitary Blocks – Here, as everywhere throughout the hospital, the order and condition were excellent, but the fittings leave much to be desired. There are no upward flushing jets for cleaning bed-pans. The Itch ward affords the one instance of insufficient and obsolete bath accommodation, and in view of the treatment usually adopted in this disease we strongly advise that this deficiency be made good at once.
      An apparatus for the disinfection of Typhoid excreta by boiling is on trial, under the supervision of the inventor, Major Caldwell.
      There is no steam disinfector nor destructor, and these deficiencies should also be remedied as soon as possible if only because, like the sterilizers in the surgical wards, they are of great educational value.
      All infectious cases are transferred to the Isolation Hospital, ¼ mile away, in ambulances kept at the latter institution. All Venereal cases have hitherto been transferred to the Third Station Hospital, but as this is so shockingly bad that we urge its immediate evacuation and demolition, we suggest that one of the pavilions of the Cambridge Hospital should be set aside, at any rate temporarily, for the reception of Venereal cases.

     Operating Theatre – Excellent, well-fitted, and in every way adequate.

     Laboratory for Clinical Pathology – Small, but well-equipped, and evidently the scene of much useful work in Water Analysis, Diphtheria, and Tubercle investigations, etc., under Major Caldwell.

     Mortuary – Very good in every respect.

     Balconies – Are accessible from all the wards.

     Stores, Kitchen, and Dispensary – All were visited and found in good order.

     General Remarks – Everywhere there was evidence that the Officer in command was making the most of is opportunities. We think that if he is given facilities along the lines we have indicated, he would quickly make of the Cambridge Hospital an ideal military hospital.

8th December, 1902



[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
     Glycerine syringe
     Lotion jars
     White mackintoshes
     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.
     Urine glasses
     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.

Officers’ wards:
     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.

     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


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