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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Red Cross Organisation

Red Cross Organisation

The Red Cross Commissioner, Major Tweedy, at this period urged the adoption of an establishment of Red Cross personnel to carry out work in the hospitals and at the store. It had been possible in Egypt to enlist the help of civilian women as hospital visitors and in the occupational therapy department at the Helwan hospital, but such arrangements were not possible in Italy. Here the work was continued by Mrs Chapman, attached to the YMCA, and Mrs Blackford, attached to the Red Cross organisation. Where New Zealand clubs were established NZWAAC (Welfare Division)—the Tuis—distributed Red Cross comforts to hospitals in their area. Occupational therapy had become a responsibility of the NZWAAC (Medical Division) on the hospital staffs. The few men assisting the Red Cross Commissioner were supplied by the Army.

Major Tweedy suggested a Red Cross establishment of one woman in command and ten others to be attached to the different hospital units. They would take charge of the libraries, distribute Red Cross comforts, give help in correspondence and in the purchase of gifts for patients, and assist in occupational therapy. The personnel could have been provided by attaching women from the WAAC or by the despatch of a separate unit from New Zealand. These recommendations were not approved.