Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 100, pages 287291 (13 December 1917) | Download Citation



As an outcome of the Departmental Committee on the Welfare of the Blind, which recently issued an excellent report, the President of the o Local Government Board (Mr. W. Hayes Fisher) has appointed a Committee to advise the department on matters relating to the care and supervision of the blind. The selection of members appears to have been made with discretion, except that, as pointed out by “Ophthalmic Surgeon” in a letter to the Times of December 8, there is no medical man or ophthalmic surgeon upon the Committee. The original Committee had an ophthalmic surgeon among its number, and applied to the Royal Society of Medicine for assistance in its deliberations. A Sub-Committee of the Ophthalmo-logical Section was appointed, and devoted much time and trouble to the subject. The report shows that it afforded very material help. Mr. Hayes Fisher, writing to the Times of December 11, excuses himself for the absence of any medical representation on the Advisory Committee by saying that “nine-tenths of the Committee's time will be taken up with the consideration of administrative problems,” and that “under existing circumstances it would not be right to make a further demand upon the time of any of our eminent ophthalmic specialists, who are already so fully occupied.” The courteous terms in which this letter is couched will doubtless be appreciated by the Royal Society of Medicine and the medical profession generally, but they do not succeed in masking the characteristic official attitude. Ophthalmic surgeons themselves are the best judges of the time which they have at their disposal, and the ordinary amenities of social life should have suggested that they at least should be consulted and offered the opportunity of giving their assistance when it is proposed to put their recommendations into action.

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