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April 1920

The last Annual Meeting of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association was remarkable for the recognition of the need for social service by the profession beyond the scope of private practice. There is much work to be done for the improvement of public and private hospitals. It is well recognised that the hospital treatment of patients able to pay for medical attention and nursing is too haphazard at the present time. Undoubtedly as regards national health the State will need to enlarge its functions. If six-pence were spent by a Ministry of Health for every pound expended on the war, the public would marvel at the results achieved. There are many obstacles, however, to be encountered. The people generally look upon the Public Health Department as a collection of officials having to do with drains and infectious diseases, and with these alone: this should be a small part of public health administration. It is difficult to find a political head of the Department who can lift it out of its regular routine, a consummation devoutly longed for, we are sure, by the medical officers of the Department. It is entirely wrong that the head of the health service of New Zealand should receive appointment merely because of his political service, or because of political exigency, and worse still that this important office should be merely an appendage to others considered of more importance. The Department, hitherto, has been unable, we think, to direct the Minister in the way he should go. It is not possible at present apparently, to have a doctor appointed one of the chief difficulties, for the Minister would have both knowledge and enthusiasm. The solution at present is to obtain larger powers of initiative for the Health Board, so that the combined influence of the Board and the Department on the Minister will result in something worth while being accomplished.

The Medical Association, strong though it is, has little or no power to make such recommendations as emanted from the recent Annual Meeting accomplished facts. The weakness of our profession lies in its inability or incapacity for public propoganda, which is against the instinct of the profession, and at the same time it is true that doctors have no time to attend to anything outside their own practices. For instance, the aims and objects of the Plunket Society were at the outset communicated to the Association, and would have made no progress unless lectures, committees and other agencies of propaganda were used to influence the public and the Government. At the present day it is too often the case that politicians do not lead, but they are driven by public opinion, which means votes. The medical profession through its Association has few votes, and cannot influence to any extent public opinion, but the medical profession wants to make this a healthier and a happier country, and knows where there is room for much improvement, and it can make its voice heard on the Public Health Board if the functions and powers of the Board are extended. Such a course will be to the advantage of the public, the Health Department, and the profession. Political control, if it is essential (which we doubt), can be safe-guarded by the Cabinet or the Minister providing the money, and giving rather a free hand to the non-political and expert administrators. In America it has been found that reform and progress are so much hindered by those who unfortunately are handicapped by political experience that there is an agitation to have expert commissions appointed to get things done.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

April 1920

The last Annual Meeting of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association was remarkable for the recognition of the need for social service by the profession beyond the scope of private practice. There is much work to be done for the improvement of public and private hospitals. It is well recognised that the hospital treatment of patients able to pay for medical attention and nursing is too haphazard at the present time. Undoubtedly as regards national health the State will need to enlarge its functions. If six-pence were spent by a Ministry of Health for every pound expended on the war, the public would marvel at the results achieved. There are many obstacles, however, to be encountered. The people generally look upon the Public Health Department as a collection of officials having to do with drains and infectious diseases, and with these alone: this should be a small part of public health administration. It is difficult to find a political head of the Department who can lift it out of its regular routine, a consummation devoutly longed for, we are sure, by the medical officers of the Department. It is entirely wrong that the head of the health service of New Zealand should receive appointment merely because of his political service, or because of political exigency, and worse still that this important office should be merely an appendage to others considered of more importance. The Department, hitherto, has been unable, we think, to direct the Minister in the way he should go. It is not possible at present apparently, to have a doctor appointed one of the chief difficulties, for the Minister would have both knowledge and enthusiasm. The solution at present is to obtain larger powers of initiative for the Health Board, so that the combined influence of the Board and the Department on the Minister will result in something worth while being accomplished.

The Medical Association, strong though it is, has little or no power to make such recommendations as emanted from the recent Annual Meeting accomplished facts. The weakness of our profession lies in its inability or incapacity for public propoganda, which is against the instinct of the profession, and at the same time it is true that doctors have no time to attend to anything outside their own practices. For instance, the aims and objects of the Plunket Society were at the outset communicated to the Association, and would have made no progress unless lectures, committees and other agencies of propaganda were used to influence the public and the Government. At the present day it is too often the case that politicians do not lead, but they are driven by public opinion, which means votes. The medical profession through its Association has few votes, and cannot influence to any extent public opinion, but the medical profession wants to make this a healthier and a happier country, and knows where there is room for much improvement, and it can make its voice heard on the Public Health Board if the functions and powers of the Board are extended. Such a course will be to the advantage of the public, the Health Department, and the profession. Political control, if it is essential (which we doubt), can be safe-guarded by the Cabinet or the Minister providing the money, and giving rather a free hand to the non-political and expert administrators. In America it has been found that reform and progress are so much hindered by those who unfortunately are handicapped by political experience that there is an agitation to have expert commissions appointed to get things done.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

April 1920

The last Annual Meeting of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association was remarkable for the recognition of the need for social service by the profession beyond the scope of private practice. There is much work to be done for the improvement of public and private hospitals. It is well recognised that the hospital treatment of patients able to pay for medical attention and nursing is too haphazard at the present time. Undoubtedly as regards national health the State will need to enlarge its functions. If six-pence were spent by a Ministry of Health for every pound expended on the war, the public would marvel at the results achieved. There are many obstacles, however, to be encountered. The people generally look upon the Public Health Department as a collection of officials having to do with drains and infectious diseases, and with these alone: this should be a small part of public health administration. It is difficult to find a political head of the Department who can lift it out of its regular routine, a consummation devoutly longed for, we are sure, by the medical officers of the Department. It is entirely wrong that the head of the health service of New Zealand should receive appointment merely because of his political service, or because of political exigency, and worse still that this important office should be merely an appendage to others considered of more importance. The Department, hitherto, has been unable, we think, to direct the Minister in the way he should go. It is not possible at present apparently, to have a doctor appointed one of the chief difficulties, for the Minister would have both knowledge and enthusiasm. The solution at present is to obtain larger powers of initiative for the Health Board, so that the combined influence of the Board and the Department on the Minister will result in something worth while being accomplished.

The Medical Association, strong though it is, has little or no power to make such recommendations as emanted from the recent Annual Meeting accomplished facts. The weakness of our profession lies in its inability or incapacity for public propoganda, which is against the instinct of the profession, and at the same time it is true that doctors have no time to attend to anything outside their own practices. For instance, the aims and objects of the Plunket Society were at the outset communicated to the Association, and would have made no progress unless lectures, committees and other agencies of propaganda were used to influence the public and the Government. At the present day it is too often the case that politicians do not lead, but they are driven by public opinion, which means votes. The medical profession through its Association has few votes, and cannot influence to any extent public opinion, but the medical profession wants to make this a healthier and a happier country, and knows where there is room for much improvement, and it can make its voice heard on the Public Health Board if the functions and powers of the Board are extended. Such a course will be to the advantage of the public, the Health Department, and the profession. Political control, if it is essential (which we doubt), can be safe-guarded by the Cabinet or the Minister providing the money, and giving rather a free hand to the non-political and expert administrators. In America it has been found that reform and progress are so much hindered by those who unfortunately are handicapped by political experience that there is an agitation to have expert commissions appointed to get things done.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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