Annual report for 1853

The following is an extract from the annual report for the year 1853 which was published in January 1854. The report is amongst uncatalogued material at the Dorset History Centre (temporary reference number NG/HH/DO(C)/10M/36).



With a deep sense of thankfulness to the Father of all mercies, for the benefits conferred upon their poor neighbours through the agency of the DORSET COUNTY HOSPITAL, and for the support which it has continued to receive during another year, the Committee present their Thirteenth Annual Report.

They began, as usual, by giving the statistical table of patients:  after which they will feel themselves bound to invite the attention of the Governors to the present position of the Institution, which appears to them to demand peculiar and earnest deliberation.



During the past Year.   From the com-mencement.
In Patients. Out Patients.   In Patients. Out Patients.
On the Books 1st January, 1853 44 61
On Recommendations 263 420 2190 4516
Household Servants 4 75
Freely as Accident cases 35 542 35
Emergencies 5
RENEWED TICKETS–In-Patients 53. Out-Patients 96. Casual Cases (1853) 617. From commencement 7836  351  481  2807  4551
Cured 170 191 1434 2230
Relieved 81 102 634 1120
Made Out-Patients 14 301
Made In-Patients 33 256
At their own request 12 1 122 24
For Misconduct 3 4
Not Relieved 36 22
Incapable of further Relief 20 9 60 30
Improper Objects 6 11 50
Non-attendance (mostly cured) 65 19 572
Tickets unrenewed 22
Died 13 9 107 83
No Report 1 30 74
310 417 2766 4487
Remaining on the Books 41 64 41 64

Weekly average In-patients, 39½.

The Out-Patients have been more numerous than in any preceding year;  and although the total number of In-Patients treated has fallen somewhat short of last year, yet the renewed tickets – implying cases of a more serious or obstinate character – have been much increased:  So that the weekly average of In-Patients amounts to precisely the same, viz: 39½.

It must be borne in mind that, at the last Annual Meeting, the Committee stated that they could not consider themselves warranted, by the financial circumstances of the Charity, to continue the admissions on the same scale of liberality without the renewed sanction of the Governors.  That sanction was unanimously accorded: and the gratifying result has been that they have been able to receive every proper case presenting itself, without waiting for a vacancy, except in some ten or twelve instances, where the delay appeared to be of slight importance.  As they feared, however, the Income has not proved adequate to this unlimited scale of admission, and, instead of a balance remaining in the Treasurer’s hands – as has been the case at the end of the two previous years – they have been compelled to overdrawn their account with him to the amount of £80 1s.  On the other hand, it must be mentioned that the Legacies received have been funded, viz:-

Per Mr. Wm. Felton £5
Miss Bryer, of Dorchester £20
T. R. Jennings, Esq. Of Evershot £100
       Total £125

as also the balance of last year’s account £90 11s. 11d., as well as a Donation of £25 (in lieu of further Annual Subscriptions) from J. C. Jennings, Esq. of Evershot;  so that the Stock, standing in the names of the Trustees, has been increased by the sum of £240 11s. 11d. To £4366 18s. 9d.

The Committee therefore trust, that on a review of the whole year, it will not be deemed unsatisfactory.

The difficulties, however, which offer themselves as to the prospective management of the Institution, are considerable;  and unless an immediate and vigorous effort be made by its friends, it will be plainly out of the question to maintain it in its present state of efficiency, without trenching on its Funded Property.  Commencing the year with an unfavourable balance, and having to contend with the high price of provisions, it will be necessary at once to reduce the number of In-Patients, and thus to limit it’s operations, at  a time when the claims on it will be in all probability unusually great:  since a deficiency in the quantity and quality of their food will be morally certain to engender disease among the poor.

The Committee, therefore, would venture to ask, first of all, for an increase of Annual Subscriptions;  which, in the past year, fell somewhat short of the preceding one.  Would it be too much to hope that some of the Subscribers might be induced to double their ordinary contributions?  or, at any rate, to form a fund by means of special Donations, to meet the exigency above detailed?

A second appeal, which they would urge with more than usual earnestness, is a request for more general Congregational Collections.  There are probably few Parishes in the County, which have not profited more or less by the Hospital;  but, though the application made to the Clergy has been more fully responded to than usual in the past year, and the sum thus raised – for which the Committee is deeply grateful – has amounted to £140 1s., the Collections have only been made in 28 out of some 300 parishes.  An early and extended effort in this direction would, it is believed, remove all the present embarrassment;  especially if enforced by the consideration that there are many persons in the County, who are benefited by those very high prices which cripple the resources of the Hospital, and whose poor rates have been much reduced by its establishment, whilst they are not regular Subscribers to its funds.

Much gratitude is due to the Medical Officers for their able and zealous services, gratuitously rendered through another trying year.

In the domestic arrangements every attention has been paid to economy, consistent with the comfort and well-being of the Patients.  By then not a single complaint has been made;  which, while it has greatly cheered the task allotted to the Committee, is also an ample proof that both the House-Apothecary and Matron have continued to deserve, by their cordial and intelligent devotedness to their respective duties, the warmest acknowledgements of all who are interested in the Institution.