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ABERGAVENNY NURSINGr ASSOCIATION.\…

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ABERGAVENNY NURSING r ASSOCIATION. I THE FINANCIAL POSITION. j NEED FOR MORE SUBSCRIPTIONS. A meeting of the General Committee of the Abergavenny Nursing Association was held in the Council Chamber on Friday evening for the puroose of considering the present position and the necessity of securing a much larger number of subscriptions from benefiting subscribers. Mr. I). Howell James (hon. treasurer) presided, and was supported by, among others, Lady Herbert of Coldbrook (president), Mrs. Seargeant (hOll. sec.), Dr. W. D. Steel, and a number of ladies. S170 a Year to Find. The Chairman said they had no doubt seen the short article in the Chronicle the other week with regard to the position of the Nursing Association. That was intended to convey a general idea only. 'He was glad to tell them that since that article appeared there had been some little progress with regard to subscriptions, and he would tell them fairly definitely what the position was at present. They had to pay salaries of £ So and £ 90 to the two nurses, or a r total of £ 170 a year. They did not, however, commence their work at the beginning of the year, hut in April, so that they would have nine months' salaries to pay this year. At the same time, although the present organisation did not come into existence until early in April, the district nursing work was going on, and prac- tically the old and the new schemes went on together for a short time. In the early days of the movement which resulted in the formation of the new society they had a gift of 1-20 from Mr. H. Gethin. Then the trustees of Miss Adeline Steel's Qharity renewed the £ 20 which they used to give year by year to the district nurse, but which they failed to give in 1916, as their funds would not allow of it. There was no promise that this donation would be renewed again, but he was in hopes that at any rate a smaller donation would be given. There was an anonymous donation of £ 5, and another of £ 1, which would make £ 46 in donations for the present year. The subscriptions under the. old Nursing Fund came to about £ 40 a year, and this year they had all come in with the exception of one or two, so he would take them at 140 in addition to the C,46, and that would make £ 86. It was very satisfactory to note that the whole of the General Committee, consisting, as they knew, of a very wide constituency, had sup- ported the scheme very well. Support of General Public Needed. They could not say that the general public had come forward very well yet, but the General Committee had set them a very good example. The president subscribed 5 guineas, another member £ 5, and there were eight subscriptions of £ 1 is., three of IDS. 6d., and a great number of other subscriptions, largely from people who' were not on the committee, but who were in- directly represented, such as members of the Town Council. Guardians, and other bodies, who had, so far, contributed £2 15s. There had thus been £ 23 received from the General Committee, and he believed that there were about a dozen outstanding. Outside the General Committee there were ten people who had subscribed £ 2 12s. 6d., and 30 people who had subscribed smaller sums than 5s. These two classes to- gether had contributed £ 6 by way of honorary subscriptions, and altogether the donations and honorary subscriptions amounted to £ 115. The benefiting subscribers had, so far, contributed ,to by quarterly contributions. It was not very large, but they hoped to do better before the end of the year. The two nurses had secured in fees from the patients i 15, which would make the total £ 140. The subscriptions, however, were under i roo, so that they had to do a good deal better before the end of December if they wext- going to make that a paying concern, for the liabilities were £17°' They hoped year by year to get donations and to put the ward collections on a far better basis. He hoped that they might in the future look for more collec- tions from outside. St. Mary's Church had sent them shme little 41p for a year or two, and so had the Frogmore-street Baptists. He hoped that each of the congregations in the town would bear the needs of the Nursing Association in mind. They looked for the moral and financial support of all the members of the General Com- mittee. If they did not as a committee give, they could hardly expect the appeal to touch some of those outside, but so far they had done remarkably well. Mrs. Seargeant would give them the- position of the working up to date. Mrs. Seargeant said that Nurse Squires took up her work on May ist, and up to the present had attended 12 cases. Nurse Bourne, the sick nurse, commenced on June 16 and had attended 38 cases, 24 of which had been attended free' of cjiarge. She was at present attending 14 cases. The Chairman said that they existed for the help of some of those poorer cases, and they were working on the lines of the old Nursing Fund. The old nurse attended a good many people who were quite able to pay but who never put any- thing in her box. He thought it was rather a shame that these people did not support the fund. They were still doing a good deal of charitable work for people who could not afford to Day. I Misapprehensions. Mrs. Crutchley said that there was an idea that they refused people who could not afford to pay, and some did not think that they went to poor people, and they said that they had to incur a doctor's bill before they could have the nurse. The nurse had gone to several people who could not afford to pay for her services, and. they did not pay, but they got just as good attention as though they did pay. Some people had the idea that it was only the people who were able to pay who had the benefit, and it Nyas a pity that they were not present to be en- lightened. The Chairman said that he hoped they would be fully informed of the position from the report in the Chronicle." Mr. Fred Davies soid that to have attended 24 cases free of charge out of 38 was very good. Mrs. Crutchley said that they heard the highest praise of the nurses from everyone who had had the benefit of their services. The Chairman said that the district nurse had already attended 38 cases, and the average for the last four years was only 46 for the whole year. They would therefore see that more work was being done and more cases were being attended. Mrs. Crutchley said that many of the cases were being attended twice a day. The Chairman read a letter from Mr. H. W. Breakspere, president of the Abergavenny Work- men's Hospital Saturday Fund, acknowledging an invitation to the meeting and expressing a doubt as to whether he had any standing on the committee. As they were probably aware, the Hospital Saturday Fund, which Le represented on that committee, decided at its annual meeting that under the existing rules and regulations of the Nursing Association they did not feel justified in continuing their subscription to the Nursing Association. This decision was arrived at on the ground of three main points isL, the weekly charge to subscribers for the services of the nurse 2nd, the inability to obtain the services of the nurse without an order of a medical man 3rd, what they considered ti.e harsh treatment of the former nurse. As one who sincerely wished every success to tle Association, he regretted the necessity of this action, but he must candidly stale that he was quite in accord with the reasons. He enclosed his personal subscription. A Regrettable Decisisn. The Chairman said that he exceedingly re- gretted that letter, and he was sorry that the Hospital Saturday Fund had taken this line. The matter was capable of a good deal of argu- ment. If they took their mmd. back 10 the general meeting they would remember that i. ey j had under consideration the constitution of that Association. They had a long discussion ou the matter, and the meeting accepted the arguments of the doctors that it should be the rule of the Association that the doctor must call in tile narse-. He exceedingly regretted thatxifter the matter was decided they were challenged on the point before the year was out. Had they wai ? ed till the end of the year they would nave Lœn able to show a year's working, and they IllJgA have fairly considered all these points, but at present it was a bit premature. At. regarded the weekly charge, he thought they were very unanimous on that point. Lady Matr.er J ack:-on gave them the value of her wide and expensive Experience, and her advice was to lei everybody pay who could, as they appreciated the services of the nurse all the more if they paid for thein. He thought that there was no dissentieut Oil that po.nt. Tiiey made it quite clear UI<J.J they nursed people free who could 110. auord to pay, but lie thought it was fully agreed ilial iuey should pay if they could. He ielt s'ill more strongly with regard to the third poim, about ti .e narsh treatment of the form r uutse. e criaiii people advocated the nurse remaiuhi^, and t;.ey t as an Executive Committee said that they would I be guided by the doctors. There were three | doctors at the Executive meeting who were I perfectly unanimous that they must have a new nurse, and the Executive were powerless in face i of that. It was the doctors who had to work with the nurse, and they could not go against the doctors. It was decided that there should be a new district nurse, and all he could say was that there was no foundation whatever for the statement that the treatment of Nurse Harris was harsh. She was allowed to stay-a full four months from the time notice was given her, and, moreover, she received a gratuity of five guineas with her last payment. He did not want to I disparage her in the least, but he did think that it was to be regretted that the Hospital Fund had come to that decision. If they had post- poned it they (the Nursing Association) might have given their reasons. He hoped that they would be in perfect amity, and he hoped that the Hospital Saturday Fund would support them on another occasion. Lady Herbert's Views. Lady Herbert said that they must make it quite clear what that Association existed for-to look after and take care of the poor of Aberga- venny and to be of what use they could to the doctors. While they had great admiration for the doctors who had gone to the front, they could not refrain from admiration of the doctors who had stayed at home., They knew that their work had been doubled and trebled since the war began, and they could not do enough to help them in their work and make it more easy for them. The nurses were doing all kinds of things which required to be done, and were acting as substitutes for doctors when they were unable to go every day. Things moved very quickly nowadays, and she did not think that there was anything which progressed more than surgical and medical science. These last two years had shown us what tremendous strides had been taken in the medical profession, and why should Abergavenny be behind ? Why should not their poor people be taken care of as other poor people were being taken care of ? That was why they were determined to go on and bear all dis- couragements. The committee must stand as one, and if there was anything to be said let them thrash it out amicably and come to the best decision possible, with the one and only object of helping. Their nurses were ready to go to the poorest cases and to give the greatest time and attention to them, and their services were entirely satisfactory. Nurse Harris fully understood that the new Association might re- quire a nurse of higher qualifications. She was not in the least surprised at what happened, and she understood the position perfectly. She had been well treated, and she (Lady Herbert) did not think it was in her mind to find fault with the treatment she received. Mrs. Crutchley I don't think it is Nurse Harris, but other people. Mrs. Fred Thomas said that she did not think that any nurse would take work unless she was sent for by a doctor, and she thought that Mr. Breakspere understood that. Lady Herbert It is a question for the doctors to decide. Mrs. Crutchley: It is understood that she goes to render first-aid without an order from the doctor. Mr. Fred Davies said that he supported the Executive Committee in everything they had done, and it should go forth that they intended to make this thing a success. Mr. W. C. Phillips (secretary of the Hospital Saturday Fund) said that the Fund was not in any way antagonistic to the Nursing Association, and the principal reason that they did not give their donation this year was that under the present constitution of the Nursing Association it would be like one fund helping another, seeing that it was understood that those who received benefits had to pay for them. He believed that there was a petition signed on behalf of the late nurse. The Chairman said that among the 50 or 60 who signed that petition there was hardly a subscriber to the old District Nursing Fund. Here were a body of petitioners who put forward an issue, but practically all of them had no standing at all, Mr. Fred Davies said that he signed the petition, and he regretted that he had done so now, because he was given to understand that it simply asked that the nurse should stay on another month, and not that she should remain permanently. Mrs. Crutchley said that she- signed under similar circumstances. The Chairman impressed the importance of a systematic organisation of the ward collections. Some ladies had worked well, but others had not yet given the matter much attention. They had secured ladies to undertake the headship,of the wards, and a number of ladies had promised to assist. The following ladies had promised to take charge of the wards :—Priory Ward, Mrs. W. J. Williams Castle Ward, Mrs. John Owen Cantreff Ward, Mrs. Crutchley Grgfield Ward, Mrs. Beveridge. He hoped that the ladies would be able to tackle this very difficult matter in earnest and that they would get many more names of subscribers. +

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