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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Furlough for Medical Officers

Furlough for Medical Officers

As has been said earlier, it had been found impossible to grant medical officers furlough to New Zealand in the same way as other officers of the force. This was due to the fact that there were no replacements available and the medical officers could not be spared without lowering the efficiency of the service. Medical officers of the First Echelon with four and a half years' service overseas had still not been granted furlough. Some had had to be invalided back to New Zealand—not surprising when it was considered that many of the medical officers in the first medical units sent overseas were older married men.

When medical officers did go on furlough very few returned to serve in 2 NZEF. Officers were lost to 2 NZEF for a number of reasons. Among them were: (a) Those medically boarded as unfit for further overseas service; (b) Those asked for by Army Headquarters, Wellington, for service in the Pacific or for special service in New Zealand; (c) Those granted compassionate leave; (d) Direct exchanges with similarly qualified men in New Zealand; (e) Exchanges of young medical officers with long service for senior house surgeons. (Less than 50 per cent of those returning wished to take up house-surgeon appointments.)