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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy


page 217


A survey of the strength of the medical units of the New Zealand Division on 12 June showed that, as a result of the operations in Greece and Crete, the following reinforcements were required.

Other Ranks
Officers Medical ASC
4 Field Ambulance 1 23 10
5 Field Ambulance 6 102 34
6 Field Ambulance 6 113 40
4 Field Hygiene Section 17 6
—— —— ——
13 255 90 Total: 358

In the following three weeks medical and ASC reinforcements were posted from Base, and these, together with thirty-nine volunteers (graded men) transferred from the infantry to the Medical Corps, resulted in the units being only sixty men short of full establishment. (This figure excluded first reinforcements of seven to each field ambulance.) The strength of units at the end of June was:

4 Field Ambulance 239
5 Field Ambulance 221
6 Field Ambulance 214
4 Field Hygiene Section 28

In base units there was a deficiency of seventy-three other ranks in 1 General Hospital and of twelve in the Base Hygiene Section. Nos. 2 and 3 General Hospitals were fully staffed for 600-bed hospitals, but an expansion to 900 beds was pending in each case. Until the arrival of the 6th Reinforcements at the end of July, it was not possible to build the medical units up to full strength.

A similar position obtained as regards medical officers. Divisional units were made up to strength at the expense of the base units, principally of 1 General Hospital which, though not functioning, was short of thirteen medical officers. When due allowance was made for the imminent increases of war establishments for 2 and 3 General Hospitals and 1 Camp Hospital, as well as the extra full-time appointments of a Consultant Physician and a Consultant Surgeon, it was assessed by the DDMS 2 NZEF that, even after the arrival of seventeen medical officers with the 6th Reinforcements, there would still be a deficiency of fifteen. In addition, this did not take account of wastage through sickness.

Strong representations were therefore made by DDMS 2 NZEF to the DGMS Army Headquarters, New Zealand, in order to ensure that adequate medical staff should be made available. It had been possible to carry on only through the dispersal of the staff of 1 General Hospital.

The DDMS 2 NZEF expressed himself as confident that, in view of the amount of injury and sickness which the New Zealand page 218 troops were called upon to endure, it would be the wish of the Government and the people of New Zealand that an adequate medical service should be maintained; and further, that the people of New Zealand would be very ready to accept some further slight shortcoming in the service to themselves in favour of their own kith and kin who, after all, were making a greater sacrifice. In New Zealand the DGMS in his turn had to make appropriate representations to the National Medical Committee for the release of more medical practitioners to the Army.