‘The natural foundation of perfect efficiency’: Medical services and the Victorian post office
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AbstractThis 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.
CitationMcIlvenna, K., Brown, D., and Green, D. R. (2019) ‘“The natural foundation of perfect efficiency” : Medical Services and the Victorian post office’, Social History of Medicine. DOI: 10.1093/shm/hky123.
PublisherOxford University Press
JournalSocial History of Medicine