18th October



Medical Committee Minutes Jan 1900 – Nov 1912 NHNN/A/9/2

Extract from a letter to the Editor of the Times from Burford Rawlings

When the medical staff suddenly launched the astounding charges upon which they have based their claim, the board, who to that time had every reason to believe that the staff were as well satisfied with the condition of the hospital as they themselves were, felt that, as an indispensable preliminary to the framing of a reply to the statements made, there must be an immediate inquiry into their truth. The result of the inquiry was to show that the charges made by the staff are not justified.

The board stated at the time sand have since repeated the statement, that if the interests of the hospital would be served by a further inquiry, they would not shrink from it but welcome it. The governors, to whom the question was put, have unmistakeably demonstrated their confidence in the management and their opinion that no further investigation is called for.

In order, however, that public opinion may be authoritatively informed on the condition of the hospital with respect to care, comfort and treatment of the patients the board have now determined a full inquiry into these matters by an independent legal authority. I may remind you, Sir, that prior to June 16th last, the medical staff had never suggested that their absence from the board had been harmful to the interests of the patients. That such a suggestion should now be seriously put forward is remarkable, seeing that the existing conditions of administration have obtained during the last 20 years at least.


Matron’s Reports NHNN/N/3/2

Cicely U Tafe – reports from 21 May 1929 to 22 May 1945

‘I have to report that the Preliminary Training School opened on October 1st, with Miss Ling as Sister Tutor and three student nurses. I feel that the Board should know that Dr Mason has been taking blood from the nurses for his private experiments without the knowledge and sanction of anyone in authority. The staff were willing to co-operate in Dr Carmichael’s investigations and his instructions were carried out under proper supervision, with my consent and involved no risk to the nurses.’


Medical Committee Minutes May 1943 – Dec 1947 NHNN/A/9/4

War-time activities and future of the Research Unit

Dr Carmichael reported to the Committee on the war-time activities and the future development of the Research Unit.

He reminded those present that at the beginning of the war the disorganisation of the hospital and the unsettled conditions made neurological research impossible. But that the resources of the Research Unit were adapted for investigating problems of the service personnel which has continued throughout the war. At the end of the war it was decided that as soon as possible this work should be brought to an end, and now no new service points need to be finished. It was hoped that this work would be completed by the end of January 1946. With a few exceptions, the medical officers assisting in the research unit would be returning to their pre-war appointments or to their ordinary service duties, but it was hoped that Drs McArdle and Dawson would continue in the Research Department for the time being.

With regard to the future of it was not at present possible for the unit to recover the use of its full complement of beds in the new hospital block and extensive metabolic investigations were rendered difficult by the shortage of nursing staff. Dr Carmichael had information that the Government was at present very anxious to obtain information as to the optimum composition of flour, with special reference to the Vitamin B complex, and were anxious that a research into this question should be conducted at this hospital. He pointed out that the National Hospital was peculiarly well suited for this work as Vitamin B deficiencies were likely to show themselves by nervous manifestations and the hospital had the advantages of the presence of Dr Platt’s human Nutrition Unit.

He understood that both the Ministry of Health and the Medical Research Council would give their warm support and would provide necessary financial assistance, and also be responsible for the provision, payment and housing of the requisite nursing staff.

The Committee warmly welcomed Dr Carmichael’s statement and asked that a reasoned statement should be prepared for the consideration of the Board and also suggested that an approach should be made to the various service departments for the carrying out of investigation into the nervous manifestations of malnutrition in returning prisoners of war.

On This Day is a diary of day to day life in the Hospital covering 1859 to the 1940’s.

Extracts are taken from the staff records, letters, the reports of the Matron and the Lady Superintendent, and the minutes of the Board of Management and the Medical Committee. They were compiled with the help of Janet Townsend, Frankie Alves, Louise Shepherd, Michael Clark and Liz Yamada

The item of the month also contains items highlighted by archive staff.