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The suggestion that the direction to jobs of girls in the 21-22 age group should have been made on a broad basis instead of by one industrial group at a time was advanced by Mr. 1. J. Goldstine when appeals by a number of insurance companies against the direction of employees to work at the Green Lane Hospital were heard at a sitting of the Auckland Industrial Manpower Committee this morning. The appeals related to 11 girls and eight insurance companies were concerned.

The manpower officer, Mr. C. G. S. Ellis, said he would like to clarify the position so far as the insurance officers were concerned. It had been said and would be said, no doubt, that the diversion of the girls was placing the companies in a serious position.

"At the outset," said Mr. Ellis, "I must say I know that no company can lightly afford to have its staff diverted, and, in general, girls of the 21-22 age group, which is the group most suitable for hospital work, are girls who have been in the industry some years and have gained efficiency not equalled by younger girls.- My job is to let you see the steps taken to direct girls to hospitals, and I can assure you that we have spread the lot as fairly as possible.

Hospital Requirements "In December, 1943, the first intimation was made that girls would be needed and that the matter would become urgent with the opening of the Middlemore Hospital. Since that date the Hospital Board has taken over the 39th General Hospital, now known as the Cornwall Hospital. On January 5 of this year the Minister of Industrial Manpower, Mr. McLagan, stated that by the end of June the new hospital would require hundred additional women apart from experienced personnel, and that the fairest way to obtain them would be to call up those who had attained their 21st birthday and not attained their 23rd birthday, irrespective of whether they were in a Government Department, essential industry or otherwise. They would be called up in order of individual priorty until the requirements were fully met. Similar steps had been taken already in Wellington, and the response had been most willing and all requirements had been met. When the urgency of this need was known and it was appreciated that all were treated equally, there would be no difficulty in the response to the call."

Since January girls had been directed to the hospitals from all walks of life, said Mr. Ellis. About two months ago a start had been made on the 21-22 age group in the city. This group had enjoyed complete immunity during the war S'ears. The cases of 329 women employed in various insurance offices had been reviewed, and. after considering individual circumstances in regard to health and domestic arrangements, a total of only 18, or five per cent of the cases reviewed had been directed. This number might be increased later as some of the 20 years old attained their majority.

At the Green Lane and Cornwall Hospitals, 21 wardsmaids, 14 domestics and 38 nurse attendants were required. With the opening of the Middlemore Hospital next October or November, a minimum of 200 girls would be needed and the call for girls would therefore have to be stepped up. There would also be an additional call for girls in connection with further development at the Cornwall Hospital.

Necessary Exemptions

Mr. Ellis said that certain classes in the 21-22 age group had •to be exempted from hospital work. These included trainiftg college students, schoolteachers, nurses, doctors' attendants and dentists' nurses, operatives in the clothing and boot trade, legal typistes, Burroughs operators and shorthand-tvpistes. There were 2400 girls in the group and about 2000 had been interviewed. It had been extremely difficult to get the 350 to 400 girls required.

In answer to the chairman, Mr. Hugh Campbell. Mr. Ellis said that the review of the insurance offices and of the Government Departments had been completed. A start would be made immediately on a review of the banks. As the shortages developed the Manpower Department would have to go back to the Government Departments.

Mr. Ellis, in answer to Mr. N. E. Crimp, a member of the committee, said that of the 2000 girls interviewed, 280 had been directed to hospital work. About 200 had complied. "The percentage of compliance with directions is very good," added Mr. Ellis.

Only Skeleton Staffs

Mr. Goldstine, who appeared on behalf of one of the appellant insurance companies, said that the sympathy of Mr. Ellis for the companies was appreciated. It was poor solace, however, for companies carrying on with what was not more than a skeleton staff.. He thought that a better procedure in the direction of girls would be to interview girls from every walk of life and then make the directions. It might be necessary to go to a higher age group. The Hospital Board, continued Mr. Goldstine, had not yet decided what it was using the hospital for. Some cases had been shifted into the Cornwall Hospital, but no specific policy had yet been laid down as to how much of it was to be used.

The reason for the immunity enjoyed by insurance companies, said Mr. Goldstine, was that they had not appealed against grade one men going overseas., and had carried on with girls in their place. "The country can't have it both ways,''' he declared. "It can't have men released without appeal and also have the girls who have filled their places. Insurance work is work of public and national importance." After hearing evidence in support of the appeals,_ the committee reserved its decision.

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Bibliographic details

HOSPITAL NEEDS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

Word Count

HOSPITAL NEEDS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

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