Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy
2 General Hospital
June was a particularly busy month at 2 General Hospital, with 1127 admissions, including 360 battle casualties. In nine months the hospital had admitted 7560 patients, and in addition a large number had attended the out-patient department. Dealing with these admissions called for the co-operation of all ranks, and the quality of the work done was of a high order. Col Spencer paid the following tribute to his staff in his monthly report to DDMS 2 NZEF:
‘The medical officers, I consider, have maintained a very high clinical standard, both surgical and medical; the work of the sisters has been consistently good and thorough, as is borne out by the page 148 testimony of many hundreds of patients; but I should like to draw special attention to the solid and unremitting toil of the NCOs and medical orderlies. In spite of the addition of natives for the more menial tasks, the brunt of the ward work has fallen on the corporals and privates of the unit. Always understaffed in the wards, with a very big turnover of patients, they have worked on at their daily tasks with hardly even a grumble. This has called for much hard physical exertion due to the nature of the building and the carriage of patients, packs, and meals up and down two to four flights of stairs. It would be invidious to single out any special department, but I feel that equal praise should go to the cooks, clerks, orderlies in charge of linen, pack, and ordnance stores, ward and medical orderlies.’
The weather during July was very trying and showed its effects on staff and patients alike. A succession of hot and sticky nights made sleep difficult and unrefreshing. Constant war was waged against bed-bugs in all staff quarters, though fortunately the hospital itself was almost entirely free of them. In some of the new tented wards, however, the patients were particularly troubled for a few nights.
During July the unit said goodbye to ten men who were posted to the newly formed Mobile Surgical Unit. These men were carefully selected and were among the best in the unit. This was the first serious encroachment on the original staff of the hospital, which had trained and worked in harmony to such good purpose.