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The Medical Profession: Southern Football Championship. Important Meeting at Limerick | Limerick Gazette Archives

The Medical Profession: Southern Football Championship. Important Meeting at Limerick

A significant gathering was held at the Athenaeum in Limerick on Sunday night, chaired by Mr Matthew Mclnerney, Chairman of the Congregated Trades. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to a speech by Surgeon General Evatt from the British Medical Association, addressing the need to improve the conditions of dispensary medical officers in Ireland. Among those present were local medical practitioners. The Chairman opened the proceedings, emphasizing the importance of the medical profession in relation to the welfare of the people, particularly the working classes who rely on doctors during times of sickness.

Surgeon General Evatt, warmly received by the audience, explained the vital significance of his lecture to the working population, not only in Limerick but in every city across the kingdom. He clarified his involvement, having been commissioned by the British Medical Association to investigate the complaints regarding the condition of dispensary doctors in Ireland. After conducting thorough research, he authored a report that reached wide circulation, shedding light on the plight of Irish dispensary doctors. Surgeon General Evatt was solely concerned with the welfare of the Irish peasant and sought to address the issues faced by this community.

The lecture delved into the history of the Irish Poor-Law Medical Relief System, highlighting the establishment of workhouses and their impact on society. Surgeon General Evatt expressed hope for the transformation of these desolate places into more uplifting environments for individuals worn down by the struggles of daily life.

He also stressed the necessity for reform in the dispensary districts, where the average district spanned 42 square miles with a population of 6,000. The dispensary medical officers, a self-sacrificing group, deserved more generous treatment. The lecturer touched upon retirement age and pension concerns, which were subject to the discretion of the Boards of Guardians. Furthermore, he addressed the state of dispensary premises in various parts of the country and the conditions under which the sick and delicate received relief.

Previously, half the salaries of these medical officers were funded by the state, with the other half coming from rates. However, since 1902, any salary increase for dispensary doctors relied solely on rates, which was considered a backward step in Surgeon General Evatt’s opinion. The well-being of the people should be the primary consideration.

Surgeon General Evatt acknowledged that the administration of Irish affairs lay in the hands of permanent officials rather than England as a whole. He suggested the need for under-secretaries for different administrative departments, similar to the system in England, to ensure direct communication and effective decision-making.

He passionately asserted that Ireland’s medical situation required immediate rectification to prevent the exodus of talented young doctors from the country. The Irish Dispensary Medical Officers should unite and strive for the betterment of the Irish peasant, knowing that their efforts would be duly rewarded when the Democracy assumed power.

After the lecture, a vote of thanks was proposed to Surgeon General Evatt, which was carried unanimously. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to Mr Mclnerney for his excellent chairmanship.

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 01 November 1904