‘The natural foundation of perfect efficiency’: Medical services and the Victorian post office

Journal article


McIlvenna, Kathleen, Brown, Douglas and Green, David R 2019. ‘The natural foundation of perfect efficiency’: Medical services and the Victorian post office. Social History of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hky123
AuthorsMcIlvenna, Kathleen, Brown, Douglas and Green, David R
Abstract

This article explores the creation of the Post Office medical service. Working for the Post Office was relatively well-paid and an increasing number of doctors were employed. Medical provision expanded with the introduction of non-contributory pensions from mid-century and developed into a comprehensive and nationwide service that was involved at all stages of employment, from initial recruitment through to receiving a pension. Post Office doctors assessed candidates’ fitness for work, checked on sick absences, provided free medicine and advice and visited workers’ homes. Doctors were responsible for determining whether or not a worker should be pensioned off on grounds of ill health. The career of the first Chief Medical Officer, Dr Waller Lewis, also illustrates the range of other areas in which the Post Office medical service became involved, including the clinical assessment and relief of sickness as well as identifying preventative measures to improve health outcomes.

KeywordsPost Office, medical service, retirement, service sector, ill health
Year2019
JournalSocial History of Medicine
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN0951631X
14774666
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hky123
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/623720
hdl:10545/623720
Publication dates23 Jan 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Apr 2019, 14:57
Accepted28 Oct 2018
ContributorsKingston University
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