6 MARCH 1915, Page 12



Sin,—May I trespass on your space to put in a plea for the general practitioner at tire present time? Many doctors have left their practices in the service of the country, and their private work has been ungrudgingly undertaken by their brother-doctors. The medical profession have further offered their services free to 'dependants of sailors and soldiers, who do not scruple to be wasteful of a commodity which they get for nothing. And beyond these there is an enormous amount of work done, of course gratis, in the V.A.D. hospitals, -besides the free inoculation of .soldiers, nurses, Sw., referred to by "3, J." in your issue of February .20th. Sorely all this is is very heavy toll for an already overburdened profeasion.

The general practitioner to-day is doing nu average of fourteen hours' worts a day and for craven days a week. He receives no overtime pay; his expenses for mileage, ,Ac., increase correspondingly with the inerease of work. He cannot strike, nor, being.a patriot, -would he he -could. Ile has no Trade Union to limit his hours of work, or to -demand payment of money bre. Should he fall till, he cis not entitled to compensation from either State or employers; .and if his health is permanently injured, he receives no .disablement benefit or pension. He has mo capital—that having been expended on his six years' training. Where is the woolring man who would tolerate such a scheme of work, undertaken uncomplainingly by our doctors ?

Yet the .employer of this " sweated labour" is the public, the so-called working man—the man who goes on strike when asked to do extra paid work, and sells his country for an extra shilling! Putting aside the humanitarian and looking at it from an economic standpoint, there is only a certain number of qualified men, and each has a given amount of strength and health. Each selfish, inconsiderate, or unnecessary call is so much expenditure of the sum total of medical skill and energy. Let the public, the employer of these trained specialists, look to it that the wastage of the nation's life-saving apparatus be curtailed. I do not publish my name for the same reason as