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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Activities of the Consultants

Activities of the Consultants

On their return from Greece the Consultant Surgeon and Consultant Physician visited the different medical units, and when their appointments were made full-time the scope of the work increased. Regular weekly visits were paid to the hospitals, convalescent depot, and camp units; regular visits were also paid to British hospitals where New Zealand patients were being treated; and contact was kept with the consultants of other forces. Visits to the British hospitals, besides ensuring the early transfer or boarding of patients requiring return to New Zealand by hospital ship, were also of value as a liaison and in the exchange of ideas, especially with regard to new developments of treatment or technique. The scope of work undertaken by our hospitals, particularly with regard to surgical operations, was kept under review, and consultation on doubtful cases arranged with the staffs concerned. For instance, secondary operations on nerve injuries in Egypt, which were banned by the AIF, required the prior authority of the consultant, and similar arrangements were made concerning goitre and some orthopaedic cases. In general, it was agreed that operations of no urgency on patients who would have to be evacuated to New Zealand in any case were better postponed until they reached New Zealand.

Extra equipment required or desired by medical units was listed and efforts made to procure supplies either through the army channels or from commercial firms in Cairo, though supplies from the latter source were very poor. Fortunately, the army equipment was quite sufficient except for some exceptional items.

Both consultants were busily occupied with boarding and the approval of boards, and in October, on their recommendation, the boarding form was altered.