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In conversation with a "Guardian" reporter yesterday, a leading Ashburton doctor expressed himself as strongly opposed to the proposed appointment of a resident doctor at the County Hospital. He contended that to adopt this proposal would be spending money uselessly, and said .that the present .system cost the Hospital Board approximately £400 a year. He suggested,, that tite Board should allow the four local medical men to form a staff with a salary of, say, £100 each (the present expenditure divided). Each man would then act as Medical Superintendent for a week, a month, or anj stated period, and during his period of office he would have precedence in the Hospital, over the other men. He would have all admissions during his period of office, such as accidents,- cases sent from the country, under his care and would see these cases through. The other men meantime could attend their own cases in the Hospital. Then in the event of a bad case the man in charge of the case could call a consultation of the other men at any time. Or in case of an operation, you have the operator, anaesthetist, assistant, and an extra man whenever wanted without going outside the Hospital staff. In this way the institution could be run economically and efficiently, and the outside public, who are never studied by the Board, would be under their own doctors. In the case cf a resident surgeon, it would be necessary to call in other men for operations, consultations, etc.,:' and this would be lacking the efficiency and economy that is available with the other'arrangement.

Further^ continued the doctor, consider what would happen if a resident doctor were appointed. The .salary offered to such a man would not be sufficient to attract a first-class man in the profession. The Board would probably find itself compelled to choose between a raw young man fresh from his books at college, on the look-out for apposition where he could obtain experience, or else a doctor growing old in his profession looking for a quiet home and retirement. Also there was the financial aspect of the new proposal. The resident doctor had first to be provided with a house and also with a sufficient

salary. The system the speaker had suggested required an annual expenditure of about £400, but, under the resident doctor system, the cost would be nearer ' £1000 per annum, without a great de- > gree of efficiency. j In conclusion, the doctor urged the! adoption of the suggested system as be- j irtg more economical, far more efficient, j and more in accord with what the pub- j lie. want, especially from their standpoint of receiving attention by their own doctor who knows their case and has their full confidence. _ ; The doctor then quoted an opinion expressed in the "British Medical Journal" by James Phillips, F.R.CiS., Sur- ' geon of the Royal Infirmary, Bradford, who says:— \'Contrast with this the effect of the kind of whole-time appointments commonly made by public bodies. A clinic, is set up in an isolated building and an officer placed,in charge of it, who will henceforth have little or no opportunity to see any cases but those of his own speciality; who has no colleagues - with whom to discuss his cases, no one to stimulate him to keen emulation; worse still, no one to criticise him and thus keep in check the all-too-human tendency to remember only our successes and to allow to fade from the memory our failures and so to become puffed up with pride. j "In instances known to many of us i the results of appointing whole-time officers to isolated clinics has been most J unsatisfactory. "A newly-fledged medico, with possibly, but by no means ne- j cessarily, a year's experience's hospi-j tal resident, but otherwise no know- : ledge of the vast range of medical , science except what he could absorb i while a student, is appointed to a muni- j cipal clinic. He has authority thrust upon him, the civic magnates hasten to I acclaim him as a specialist (he whose ! claim to specialism rests on the fact that he has had no time or opportunity to know anything outside- his own particular branch of medicine and so must necessarily lack perspective) and the patients accept his dicta as infallible, is there any wonder that, given the appropriate temperament, such an one soon forms and gives expression to a belief in his own superability and know-, ledge beyond that of everybody else!-"

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Bibliographic details

COUNTY HOSPITAL, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9598, 30 April 1919

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COUNTY HOSPITAL Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9598, 30 April 1919