Medical arrangements for Australian wounded in English hospitals
On this day in 1915, The Northern Miner published an article which reported the number of Australian wounded being treated in English hospitals. The Australian High Commissioner Mr Fisher was undertaking an investigation into Australian medical arrangements overseas, and was inspecting different facilities to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the system as a whole.
At the time of the investigation, wounded Australian soldiers were spread across 118 hospitals:
London command - 38 hospitals, 770 Australians, including Wansworth 268;
Eastern command - 27 hospitals, 1390 Australians, including Harefield 504, and two Epsom hospitals 630;
Southern command - 26 hospitals, 243 Australians; Western command, 11 hospitals, 213 Australians;
Northern command - 6 hospitals, 17 Australians;
Scottish command - 5 hospitals, 7 Australians;
Irish command - 3 hospitals, 3 Australians;
Aldershot command - 2 hospitals, 6 Australians.
While Mr Fisher expressed satisfaction with the conditions at Wandsworth and Abbeywood, he suggested that a greater concentration of Australian wounded might improve their situation. The existing decentralisation hampered efficient distribution of comforts by the Australian Red Cross and War Contingent Associations. As part of his investigation, Mr Fisher also intended to visit Walton, to observe the workings of the New Zealand system, which took a more centralist approach.
Surgeon General Williams expressed hope that before the end of February all the Australian wounded situated in outlying hospitals would be brought into Harefield. Some serious cases had been impossible to move earlier, but extensions at Harefield would enable the hospital to receive all Australians in future. When this article was published, 1665 Australians were on furlough, 2117 were at Abbeywood and 2652 at Weymouth, exclusive of 300 officers.