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War Surgery and Medicine

Specialist Staff in 2 NZEF

Specialist Staff in 2 NZEF

Shortly after the arrival of the First Echelon in Egypt, ENT consultations were arranged in camp and later at the hospital page 448 established at Helwan, to which Captain R. A. Elliott was posted. The RMOs were thereby enabled to get advice, both as regards treatment and the grading of personnel, from an ENT specialist. By attending the clinics they also gained valuable experience of the treatment of ENT conditions. Up to eighty cases were seen at each of the two clinics held each week. These out-patient clinics were continued when 2 General Hospital took over at Helwan, and similar clinics were set up by the other hospitals whenever circumstances warranted it.

In all the Middle East Forces it was found that 8 per cent of all troops, 20 per cent of all new patients, and 11.35 per cent of all admissions to hospital were suffering from ENT diseases. Endeavours were made by the British authorities to provide specialised staff for the hospitals, and mobile oto-laryngological teams were formed to provide specialist services in the forward hospitals and for men in rest areas behind the line. Ear treatment centres were also set up at the hospitals. New equipment on a more liberal scale was also provided. A consultant in ENT diseases was appointed later and was available in Italy.

In the first years of the war 2 NZEF had insufficient ENT specialists to provide an officer at each of the three hospitals, and was unable to get replacements from New Zealand. Only three ENT specialists went from New Zealand to the Middle East throughout the war. The appointment of specialists to administrative positions, as promotion to higher ranks was not possible in the specialties, also depleted the clinical staffs. Arrangements were therefore made to concentrate the cases in two of the hospitals. A relatively large number of men in widespread locations with minor ENT disabilities caused considerable wastage of manpower when there was an insufficient number of specialists to deal with them. An ENT specialist would have been very useful in the forward areas in preventing evacuation of men to Base.