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EDWARD SMITH, M.D., LL.B. (LOND.), F.R.S.,
FELLOW OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS;
ASSISTANT PHYSICIAN TO THE HOSPITAL FOR
OF MONTREAL; ETC. ETC.
The performance of the duties of Medical Officer of Health will be onerous, by reason of the newness of the work to both the sanitary authority and the officer, and the absence of any well established scheme of action on the part of either.
Hence opinions will at first take the place of defined regulations, and differences may occur both between different individuals and in the views of the same person as his experience and knowledge increase.
Moreover the science in some of its aspects will be comparatively new to the medical officer, and newer still to the sanitary authority, for it embraces much that is not included in medical education, and must be acquired by special study. Of these the legal will probably be less easy of acquisition than the sanitary, both because it is less closely associated with medical teaching and is at present spread over many Acts of Parliament, and not always clear even to legal minds.
It follows, therefore, both that much prudence should be exercised by the medical officer in expression and action, and that a Manual which shall prominently bring forward the legal enactments on the subject and advise as to the mode of carrying out the Order of the Local Government Board on this subject may be found useful.
The aim of the author has been to take a somewhat wide range, and to offer a variety of information on the most important parts of the subject.
No inconsiderable proportion of the medical officers of health, of local boards of health, and some of the sanitary authorities composed of guardians of the poor, will not at present be subject to the supervision of the Local Government Board, and will therefore not have the advantage of the information and support which the central authority could confer.
The diversity of view which has been taken as to the
omncer of health by whatever designation known, whilst the latter will be rather an inspector with certain executive duties.
Whilst there are special powers conferred on medical officers of health by various enactments, the subject almost equally applies to all sanitary authorities, and to those who wish to obtain information on the subject; and hence it is hoped that the present work may be useful to many.