Annual report for 1855

The following is an extract from the annual report for the year 1855 which was published in January 1856. The report is amongst uncatalogued material at the Dorset History Centre (temporary reference number NG/HH/DO(C)/Accession 4898).

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REPORT OF 1855, SUBMITTED JANUARY 14th, 1856.

The Committee desire to offer their humble acknowledgments to Almighty God for the unprecedented amount of relief which they have been permitted to administer, through this institution, to the sick and needy, during another year, according to the following.

[TABLE TO BE INSERTED].

It is true that the ordinary receipts of the year have been insufficient to cover it’s expenses, and that a balance of £307 4s. 8d., appears against the Hospital in the Treasurer’s account, but the circumstances under which this debt has been incurred admit of a simple explanation, which, it is hoped, will be adequate to justify it in the opinion of the Governors.

Mainly in consequence of the very liberal Congregational collections on the Thanksgiving Day in 1851, the Committee were enabled to fund, at the end of that year, a sum of £400 – excusive of a Legacy of £100 – and to present a balance in hand at the beginning of 1855 of £111 15s. 8d., which, at the last Annual General Meeting, was also ordered to be funded.

The privileges of recommendation, however, conferred in right of these collections were still unexhausted, and the Committee deemed it proper to make every effort to render them available, without interfering unwarrantably with the privileges of regular subscribers.  The existing accommodation of the hospital has consequently been strained to the uttermost during almost the whole year.  Every fit cause that presented itself for admission, has been received at the earliest possible opportunity, and the result is an increase of 38 in-patients, almost precisely coinciding with the recommendations on account of these Congregational collections, and a weekly average advanced from 39½ to no less than 46 1-16th.

It was of course entirely out of the question that so large an increase of patients should be treated, especially in these dear times, without an increase of expenditure.  The Committee were, indeed, very slow to abandon the hope expressed in their last report, and repeated in an appeal circulated a few months since amongst the Clergy of the County, that the claims of the Hospital, which had been so fully and effectively admitted in 1854, would not be forgotten in 1855;  but in this they confess themselves altogether disappointed, as the amount of Congregational collections, as well as of donations, has fallen below that of any preceding year:  and thus the deficiency is considerably greater than they had supposed to be probable.

They have reason to believe that all due economy has been exercises in every department of the Institution.  The increase of each article of consumption has not been more than can be reasonably accounted for by the increased number of patients, and afford indeed, in itself, a tolerable test of the accuracy with which the domestic arrangements are managed;  whilst the total cost per head for maintenance has fallen somewhat sort of the previous year.

In the mean time, the stock has been raised from £4,900 13s. 11d. To £5,546 7s. 9d. by the following investments, viz. :-

£       s.         d.

A Legacy from the late   Joseph Stone, Esq.   …       …       …       …       100       0           0
Ditto             Miss S. Locke     …     …       …       …       …          10        0           0
Ditto             Miss M. Locke    …     …       …       …       …          10        0           0
Ditto             Edward Balston, Esq         …       …       …          100        0           0
Ditto             Capt. J. Barnet    …     …       …       …       …       200       0           0
Donation in lieu of Subscriptions, T. H. Bastard, Esq      …       …          50       0           0
Balance of last year’s account    ….       …    …  …       …       …       …         111      15          9

The Committee, under present circumstances, are constrained to submit to the General Meeting the propriety of considering whether the same number of beds can be maintained during the coming year.  At the same time, they would earnestly plead for such special exertions as may relieve them from the necessity of reducing the capital of the Charity, and thus taking the first retrograde step of this nature in the history of its 15 year’s existence.

They believe that it is now impossible to gainsay the great benefits which, under God, it has been privileged to confer upon the County.  During the past year, they have heard no murmur of dissatisfaction from any one of the patients, but on the contrary, in the majority of instances, the warmest expressions of gratitude for the kindness, and success of their treatment.  The Committee feel that it is almost superfluous for them to point out how greatly such results are attributable to the skilful and attentive labours of the Honorary Medical Officers.  To them, as well as to the House Apothecary and Matron, who have both continued to merit that respect and confidence, which they have so thoroughly won, our heartfelt thanks are due.

The Chaplaincy having become vacant by the resignation of the Rev. W. Buller, the Committee thought it desirable, if possible, to secure the services of a resident Chaplain;  and, to this end, raised the salary from £80 to £100 per annum, subject to a payment of maintenance of £20.  They now, for the first time, publish the special subscription list, by which this fund has hitherto been supplied, believing that, it’s existence being once made known, they shall have no difficulty in obtaining the sum required.  Amongst many candidates for the office, the Committee were glad to receive the application of the Rev. G. E. Moule, their personal acquaintance with whom enabled them at once unanimously to elect him.

C. W. BINGHAM,
CHAIRMAN.

DORSET COUNTY HOSPITAL, 1ST JANUARY 1856.

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