Finding that no dietary for the sick and infirm had been adopted at the House, I at once drew up a form which continued in force until ill-health caused my resignation. It was similar to that which I had[Pg 120] introduced at the Strand several years before. There was one diet for which I claim especial credit. It was framed with the view of dealing with capricious appetites or severe sickness. It was called Number Five, or ad. lib., and consisted of either eggs, fish, a chop, beef-tea, or arrowroot, or anything else of the same value. It was enjoined that the nurse should at 8 a.m. ask what these special sick would take for dinner. When she had ascertained the wishes of the patient, ????? a statement on a diet-sheet showing how many of each description of diet would be required was sent down to the kitchen. At the end of the week the cook handed to the master's clerk the number of each diets she had supplied, who then proceeded to distribute these among all those who were on ad. lib. diet. It might appear on the master's side of the Medical Relief Book that A or B had had a chop daily, whilst in reality the dinner might, by this arrangement, have been changed every day. This plan of dealing with capricious appetites has since been adopted in several workhouses.

Although five years had passed away since the Metropolitan Poor Law Act had become law, no attempt had been made to carry out the dispensary clauses until after my election, and one of the first things I had to do was to put the dispensary in[Pg 121] order. I had been taught a lesson in economic prescribing whilst at the Strand, and therefore was enabled to speedily arrange for a pharmacop?ia. I also drew up a formula for the supply of large bottles of simple medicines, which were placed in charge of the nurses, for administration in trivial ailments so common among the aged poor. I also introduced bed pulleys, to enable the sick to assist themselves in rising, or in getting in or out of bed. I also ordered small shawls for the aged women and woollen jackets for the men?a great comfort to those who were suffering from consumption or bronchitis, the principal affections I had to encounter.