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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Promotion of Specialists in the NZMC

Promotion of Specialists in the NZMC

Throughout the war there had been difficulty with regard to the promotion of senior medical practitioners who were retained in hospitals because of their value as clinicians. The hospitals had rigid establishments with a minimal number of senior ranking officers, and only the commanding officer and officers in charge of the surgical and medical divisions had ranks above that of major. In the RAMC every medical officer graded as a specialist automatically was granted the rank of major, but this was not so in our Corps. In the early period of the war we had experienced senior surgeons ranking as captains. Later, it was impossible for any specialist to be promoted above the rank of major unless he became an officer in charge of a division in a hospital, for which position he might not be qualified, or unless he became CO of a field ambulance or of a hospital unit, when he was no longer available for his specialist work. Some recognition of the position was given by Headquarters 2 NZEF in September 1944 by the promotion of Majors Coverdale and Russell to the rank of lieutenant-colonel as consultants in ophthalmology and psychiatry respectively. The promotions were both long overdue. page 578 In the future better provision should be made in the New Zealand Army for recognition of senior professional status.