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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Scarcity of Experienced Surgeons

Scarcity of Experienced Surgeons

This condition had been developing for some time and was accentuated by the return to New Zealand of some of the more senior officers who had served for a long period with the force. The scarcity was felt in both divisional and base units. The CCS in particular could not function without the help of specialist teams from the RAMC, both as regards surgery and transfusion. It was unfortunate that we did not have in our own corps young surgeons available for what was the most responsible surgical work in 2 NZEF.

The Consultant Surgeon made the following comments on this subject in his report of July 1944:

There is a scarcity of experienced surgeons in the 2 NZEF at present and this condition always tends to be aggravated by the appointment of surgeons to administrative positions. If war was not for us a temporary phase of relatively short duration it would be essential in my opinion to have two divisions in the Medical Corps, one Clinical and the other Administrative, page 600 with officers given senior ranks according to their capacity to fill the positions in either branch. The anomalous position would not then arise of officers with high clinical capacity having their only chance of promotion in an administrative post—and on the other hand an officer of high rank gained by long service in the Field being employed in a hospital in a junior clinical position. I, however, appreciate that all our conditions are purely temporary ones and that the interchange of medical officers between the hospitals and the Division is highly desirable.