Annual Report of the County Medical Officer 1952

Prior to the Health Reforms of 1974, Public Health was the responsibility of local authorities, and the County Medical Officer was responsible for producing an annual report on health in their community.

The Annual Report of the County Medical Officer for Devon from 1952 is available below highlighting the transformations in health and society seen over the last 60 years.

The population was just over 500,000, but the number of deaths and particularly births are not too far off current figures despite a much larger population today. There were 6,854 births and 6,854 deaths in the year. The adjusted mortality rate was highest in Dartmouth, and the area of Devon with the highest mortality rates today, Ilfracombe, was close to the Devon average, suggesting quite a different pattern to the one we see today.

Infant mortality rates were around eight times higher than they are today, with 177 infant deaths recorded in the year.

There is also a detailed table of Tuberculosis deaths (of which there were 87) by occupation, with 3,535 people recorded on the county TB register.

This report makes for a fascinating snapshot of health in the County in the post-war years.

Annual Report of the County Medical Officer, 1952