Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

War Surgery and Medicine

The Pensions Aspect

The Pensions Aspect

Approximately 250,000 men enlisted in the New Zealand Forces in the Second World War. Of these, up till 1948, there had been 7308 discharged with a diagnosis of neurosis and 4160 of these had been awarded a pension. Neurosis, therefore, had incapacitated 3 per cent, and pensions for neurosis had been granted to 1.75 per cent of all enlisted men. (In the United Kingdom neurosis affected 2.8 per cent and pensions for neurosis were awarded to 0.8 per cent of enlisted men.) The expenditure on war pensions takes a sizeable portion of the national budget, and it has been estimated that 10 per cent of the cost of war pensions is due to neurosis. In 1947 the annual cost in New Zealand was estimated at a quarter of a million pounds.

There was a rather easy attachment of the diagnosis of ‘Anxiety Neurosis’ to cases after discharge. There was also a tendency to give the diagnosis and a small pension to any man complaining page 651 of loss of sleep, nerves, or worry because of some other disability—hence the large number of cases. By 1950 most of the cases in receipt of pensions were assessed at 15 to 20 per cent disability. This appeared to stabilise the ex-serviceman of this class with the assurance that he was protected.

A survey of 2073 War Pensions files of anxiety neurosis cases by Dr Macdonald Wilson at the end of 1953 disclosed that 335 applicants had never been granted a pension, that in 1155 cases the pension had ceased, and that only 583, or 28 per cent, were then on pension. Only 53, or 2.55 per cent, of the cases were deemed not to be satisfactorily rehabilitated.