Stornoway, 11 October 1912, John N Anderson

11,018. (Chairman.) You are a Solicitor in Stornoway ; you have also been Provost of the Burgh and are Chairman of the Lewis District Committee of Ross and Cromarty County Council ?

11,019. You know the island well ?
—Yes. When I was a young man in the fiscal’s office I had opportunities of observing the conditions of the people.

11,020. You mention that the Parish Councils in order to get a doctor to remain with them at all, have to give a fee for the doctor attending the paupers out of all proportion to the number of paupers ?

11,021. What provision have you for an hospital here?
—So far as non-infectious diseases are concerned, we have one hospital supported by voluntary subscriptions.

11,022. How is it managed ?
—It used to be managed by a small committee.

11,023. How was the old one elected ?
—They elected themselves. They continued on for a number of years.

11,024. You have made a change ?
—Yes, just lately. The Governors are the Chairman of the Lewis District Committee and the Chairmen of the various Parish Councils and the Provost of the town. They are ex officio members. Those who subscribe a guinea a year have also a vote. Then there is a Board of Management, consisting of twelve.

11,025. How is that elected?
—By the governors. There are twelve ladies appointed, and they appoint six of those who represent them on the board of management.

11,026. ls it satisfactory ?
—It is not satisfactory at present.

11,027. What is wrong with it ?
—There is a difficulty about the medical attendance. It is voluntary and there is a little friction.

11,028. Does each doctor attend his own patient in the hospital ?
—Yes, those in Stornoway are expected to do and to act for the medical men in the rural districts who may send patients for treatment in the hospital. There was a case sent from Uig by Dr Ross to Dr Mackenzie’s assistant, and owing to instructions it was said that she was not to be sent to the hospital, and she went to Glasgow and got into the Infirmary there. There are scarcely any patients in just now. The only party who has patients in just now is Dr Murchison.

11,029. Is he the doctor ?
—He is the doctor of the Back district of Stornoway Parish.

11,030. Why do they only take his patients ?
—They will take all the patients, but Dr Mackenzie won’t send his patients there. The board of management are quite ready to take them.

11,031. Does Dr Mackenzie not attend them himself while they are in the hospital ?
—He won’t attend them there.

11,032. What reason is assigned for Dr Mackenzie not doing that ?
—He has some feeling in the matter: There was a matron there and he quarrelled with her, and he would not have her at any of his cases. She was sent by the Jubilee Nursing Association in Edinburgh, and she resigned and went to Foyers. It was thought that matters would improve then. A young lady came and she took ill with pneumonia, and she had to resign. There is a nurse and a probationer there, and they do nothing, I may say. Money was set aside for a nurse and her services are not requisitioned. It is very unfortunate that Dr Mackenzie has taken this attitude, and we cannot understand the change that has come over him. He and Sheriff Davidson took a great interest in the matter. Dr Mackenzie took a great interest in the hospital for years.

11,033. The difliculty is not with the management of the hospital, but the difficulty is that the doctors won’t send the patients into the hospital ?
—Yes ; the new board of management are feeling the responsibility. Under the new constitution, our difficulty is that we have not a medical man there who would be bound to attend the

11,034. Do you think if the medical men had some representation on the board of management that that would be better ?
—They have that already. Dr Mackenzie is on it. I think we should have a man to visit the hospital at certain hours during the day.

11035. (Dr Mackenzie.) Supposing it was possible to develop that hospital on the lines of a large tuberculosis hospital, would that help you very much ?

11,036. And it would enable you to get some more patients ?

11,037. (Chairman.) That would not affect the usefulness of the hospital if the doctors would not send the patients to it ?
—Yes, unless you had a resident man. At present they cannot force Dr Mackenzie to send a patient there. It is because he does not work in harmony in the matter that there is difficulty.

11,038. Is that the only difficulty in the way ?
—Dr Mackenzie has an assistant, and he only does what Dr Mackenzie tells him to do.

11,039. Then if you got a resident doctor in the hospital it would not make any difiierence ?
—Yes, certainly, because the country doctors would send in patients.

11,040. (Dr Miller.) Why not give £70 or £80 a year to Dr Mackenzie and let him do it ?
—He won’t have it. At least he never asked for it.

11,041. Have you tried him ?
—I don’t think so.

11,042. Do these other doctors all over the island still send in patients ?
—Yes, the last one came from Dr Ross at Uig.

11,043. Is Dr Mackenzie the only doctor who does not send patients ?
—Yes. I think it was because Dr Mackenzie and Dr Ross worked together that that patient was not sent into the hospital. The patient was sent by Dr Ross of Garynahine to be sent to the hospital, and the patient came to Dr M‘Intosh, Dr Mackenzie’s assistant, and in view of Yarmouth, and, over all, I should say £10 would be the instructions he had from Dr Mackenzie he did not send the patient in.

11,044. The country doctors cannot attend themselves because they are twelve, fourteen and twenty miles away ?

11,045. (Mr Orrock.) Is there room for another doctor?
—Yes, quite room enough.

11,046. Your complaint is that here you have got an hospital and 30,000 of a population, and it is not taken advantage of‘? Yes. We have all the appliances and a splendid operating table and everything. We have an infectious diseases hospital. It is the joint property of the District Committee and of the town, and it has rendered very good services.

11,047. You are chairman of the National Health Insurance Committee ?
—No, I am a member of it.

11,048. Is there anything you can tell us about that. Have you any voluntary insurers ?
—I am not aware of any. I think I would emphasise the nursing question. The nurses we have are encouraging the people to face cases of infectious diseases.

11,049. (Dr. Mackenzie.) You are chairman of the District Committee ?

11,050. Supposing it were possible or likely that a grant were made available to improve the medical service on various lines for the island of Lewis, what would you suggest as the local body, as the body suitable for the distribution and control of the money? Would you think the District Committee of the island of Lewis would be a suitable nucleus, supposing it had added to it representatives of the medical men, nursing associations, representatives of the Insurance Committee, and representatives of any other public body interested in medical and nursing affairs?
—I think it would be an excellent arrangement. I think such a body should have the control of the doctors.

11,051. In what way ?
—Because geographically at present each Parish Council has its own doctors. If it was arranged under one body you could rearrange them. As I mentioned in my statement, a number of the doctors’ areas require to be rearranged. For instance, the doctor at Garynahine has to travel to Carloway, ten miles in one direction, and to Brenish and Islivick, thirty miles in another direction. He has to go as far as Bernera.

11,052. From your intimate knowledge of Lewis, and your intimate experience of the District Committee, and your knowledge of the medical men and the nursing services, you are quite sure that that would be the best body to have as the nucleus ?

11,053. Of course you could supplement and help the parishes through that organisation as well?

11,054. I mean you are not abolishing it. You are only getting a larger area to work on ?

11,055. (Chairman.) You give us rather an important note to the effect that grants would also be required for erecting dwellings for doctors and nurses ?
—That is so.

11,056. Do you think there is any difficulty in that respect ?
—That is why Dr Ross is situated at Garynahine.

11,057. Are you in favour of Parish Councils having the power to build houses for the doctors ?
—Yes. I may have had a good deal of experience of the women on the east coast, travelling back with them, and in some cases find that they don’t bring home more than £2 or £3. They are engaged to a curer who does not care to buy unless the prices are low. I fancy that £10 taken home by each woman would be a very fair return. There are about 1500 going away to Lowestoft and Yarmouth, and I would say that £5 or £6 would be their average for Lowestoft and Yarmouth, and, overall, I should say £10 would be the average for those who go to the east coast and Shetland. I should say that about 2300 bring home about £10, and about 1500 bring back about £6.

11,058. (Lady Tullibardine.) 2300, you say, go away to the east coast and Shetland, and 1500 go away to the English fishing places ?
—Yes. Besides these there are about 200 women who work as kipperers.

11,059. How much do they get while they are away?
—18s., and they have to keep themselves.

11,060. That is not a very large number of women. That is just from Stornoway ?
—Yes. They have been trained when young by the herring kipperers.

11,061. How many will be employe in Stornoway?
—I would say from 250 to 300.

11,061A. Is the burden of rates heavy in Lewis?
—Yes very heavy. I have prepared a statement which shows that very clearly, and which you might, perhaps, wish to peruse

[table omitted]

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