We are glad that the last quarterly meeting of the Association was marked by the introduction of a paper on the status and prospects of the Assistant Medical Officers of Asylums for the Insane. This communication, contributed by three physicians holding office in asylums at the present time, will be found in the current number of the Journal, and will repay careful perusal. The fairness and moderation of the style in which it is written ought to commend it to our readers. That it was received by the meeting in an appreciative spirit will be evident to those who read the discussion, given in “Notes and News,” which followed. It cannot be denied that there is much to discourage this class of medical officers, and to prevent, therefore, young physicians of high standing entering into this field of labour. To our certain knowledge there are assistant medical officers in county asylums thoroughly interested in their work, and engaged in scientific observations, who are obliged against their will and tastes to contemplate resignation, and engaging in general practice. That they will carry with them a large amount of special knowledge eminently useful to them in their profession is very true. This, however, does not lessen the loss to the department of medicine in which they were likely to make fresh discoveries in the therapeutics and pathology of insanity. It would indicate a lamentable apathy on the part of men who perform their duties during many years for a salary the limits of which they have reached, and which, if the rules of the institution permitted, would not enable them to marry, if they did not speak out and combine for the purpose of improving the material condition of their class. The question for the Association to consider is whether it can promote the interests of assistant medical officers by any definite mode of action. We trust that the subject will be carefully considered by the members prior to the Spring meeting in Manchester, and that the meeting may then be in a position to pass some resolution calculated to secure the objects in view.
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