Renfrewshire King Edward Memorial Trust

Renfrewshire King Edward Memorial Trust

The Midspan Renfrew/Paisley Study (1972-76) was substantially funded by the Renfrewshire King Edward Memorial Fund

The Renfrewshire Memorial Trust to King Edward VII was founded in 1911 following the death of the King the previous year. It was established to raise funds by appeal throughout the county of Renfrew in order to support schemes for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. The late King had been identified in the public eye with hospital administration and the view was that this was a fitting tribute.

The records of the Trustees show that in the early years of the Trust, the funds amounted to £36,500 and that money was spent on educational aspects and on assistance towards the treatment of certain sanatorium patients. However within a few years of the inauguration of the Trust fund, the national situation with regard to the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis had been largely changed by government legislation. Local authorities had far greater involvement in providing care. Plans to help fund a county sanatorium were agreed and the project begun, but delayed for year after year. During this time the Trustees continued to provide financial assistance wherever possible within the restrictions of the legal interpretation of their powers. They contributed towards the after-care of TB patients in such matters as the provision of beds and dental care. Rent and food allowances were also paid to the families of patients in hospital. In later years the Trust were also involved in assisting in the purchase of X-ray equipment for clinics and in action taken to eradicate TB in dairy herds.

However by the 1930s, with the Trust fund increasing, the Trustees were concerned at the somewhat restrictive nature of the purposes of the Trust and investigations were initiated to find other projects which they could support. No major developments took place and the advent of the National Health Service following the Second World War further reduced the type of activities on which the Trustees were empowered to spend Trust funds.

Eventually, in the 1960s, the Trustees were able to give approval to a proposal to fund a programme of research and prevention in tuberculosis in the Burghs of Renfrew and Paisley which was to be part of a larger research project approved by the World Health Organisation and supported by the Scottish Home and Health Department - MIDSPAN.

The aims of the mass radiography surveys carried out in Renfrew and Paisley were to ascertain the prevalence and incidence of tuberculosis over a five year period in two defined populations which were characteristic of west central Scotland, against the possibility that there might be some additional mass measure, like tuberculin testing or sputum examination, that could enhance the precision of diagnosing asymptomatic disease and thus hastening eradication.

These aims coincided with the need to identify and measure the risks of dying from chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, other cardiovascular diseases, cancers, particularly of the lung, and respiratory disease. All of these conditions have excess mortality rates in west central Scotland compared with the rest of Scotland, and in Scotland compared with England and Wales.