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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

1.Need for Advanced Medical Planning

page 143

1.Need for Advanced Medical Planning

It was felt by the ADMS NZ Division that he should have been instructed to go to Greece with the GOC on 6 March, so as to have extra time to make medical arrangements for the Division, especially as it was going to a new country, with no previous arrangements for foreign troops and with its own special medical problems of endemic disease. There was little time to gain knowledge and to make plans and to site the field units, especially as the divisional area was far removed from Athens, where Medical Headquarters and all base units were stationed.

The DDMS 2 NZEF did not visit Greece until a month later and was out of touch with the conditions there.1 The difficulties that arose in the siting and utilisation of 1 NZ General Hospital might have been obviated by his presence in Greece at the outset of the campaign.

Early Arrival of Medical Units: It was considered by the senior medical officers that a higher priority should be given in the future to the medical units, so that they would be available from the beginning to service the troops and have time to site and establish their dressing stations before active operations commenced. Representations to this effect were made on 7 March by DDMS 2 NZEF, but were not supported by DMS MEF on the ground that the medical units were unlikely to be urgently required.

Consultants: There were no consultants attached to the forces in Greece. It had been planned to have the Australian consultants, Colonels N. H. Fairley and Hailes, attached to headquarters at Athens, but they did not go to Greece. Their advice would have been valuable in the placing of the hospitals and the co-ordination of the clinical work of the medical units.

1 Colonel MacCormick states that transport was not available sooner for him.