In this Act also is power to make regulations for the “classification, treatment, control, and discipline of persons detained in such hospitals,” but apparently, owing to the opposition to the almost analagous provision in the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act, 1913, no such regulations have as yet been made.
(A.) Medical Statistics.
The first item on the Committee’s order of reference is “To inquire and report, as to prevalence of venereal diseases in New Zealand.”
One of the first matters which engaged the attention of the Committee was the question how reliable information could be gathered which would indicate the present prevalence of these diseases in this country. Recognizing that it would be impossible to obtain trustworthy figures without securing the widespread co-operation of the medical profession, the Committee at an early stage sought and was readily given the help of the British Medical Association in the matter. Representatives of the Association gave their assistance in the preparation of a form to be sent to and filled in by all practising members of the profession, and in the current number of the New Zealand Medical Journal an appeal to members for their collaboration was made. Suitable circular letters were also prepared by the Committee asking medical practitioners for their co-operation, and the Committee are pleased to be able to report that out of about 750 in actual practice, no fewer than 635 medical practitioners sent in completed returns. A copy of the form used for these returns will be found as an appendix to this report, as also a tabulated return of the replies received and compilations therefrom.
It will be seen that the total number of cases of all forms of venereal diseases and of diseases attributable to venereal disease under the personal care of the doctors reporting is 3,031; and, taking the population of New Zealand as 1,296,986 (estimated population 31st March, 1922), this means that about one person in every 428 of our population is at present being treated for venereal infection or for the results thereof. Acute and chronic gonorrhoeal infections give a total of 1,598, being about one person in every 812 of the population. This is most likely a very low estimate, for the Committee have had it very definitely in evidence that many persons suffering, at least from acute gonorrhoea, seek treatment at the hands of persons other than registered medical practitioners. For syphilitic infections in all forms the total is 1,419, about one person in every 914 of the population. The return bears out other evidence showing that the chancroid or soft-sore type of infection is rare in this Dominion.