CHAPTER X.--SUBSIDIARY RECOMMENDATIONS. (continued)
Boards and Commissions.
586. There exists at present a
number of Boards and Commissions appointed under statute for the purpose of
supervising certain branches of Government activity. Some of these Boards and
Commissions are composed of members of the Government and its supporters in the
Legislature; on others, local interests are also represented. Examples of the
former may be found in the Commissions which supervise the working of the Railway
and the Post Office. The Railway Commission consists of one Member of the
Government and three private Members of the House of Assembly, with the General
Manager of the Railway as Secretary. The Post Office Commission is composed of
three Members of the Government in addition to the Minister of Posts and
Telegraphs, with the acting Deputy Minister as Secretary. An example of a Board on
which local interests are represented is to be found in the Board appointed to
supervise the management of the Newfoundland Hotel which consists of two Members of
the Government and three Members representative of commercial interests.
587. As a result of the
constitutional changes which we have recommended, Boards and Commissions composed
of Governmental representatives will disappear. Those on which local interests are
represented, while commendable in theory, have not in practice been found to work
well. The evidence submitted to us shows that such Boards are apt to become
centres of political wire-pulling, while the private individuals concerned have in
some cases sought to promote their own interests, e.g., through the grant of
contracts, rather than those of the undertaking which they are called upon to
supervise. We consider it of great importance that the new Government should be
under no restrictions in taking such steps as it may deem proper to ensure that
the various branches of the public service are conducted to the national advantage,
and we recommend therefore that Boards and Commissions of this type should also be
wound up. In making this recommendation, we do not wish to imply that no steps
should be taken by the new Government to consult local interests in matters
directly affecting them. On the contrary, we have no doubt that the new Government
will keep in close touch with local interests in all such matters. We consider,
however, that it should be left complete freedom to determine the manner in which
such consultation would best be achieved.
Public Health and Welfare.
588. There are two Departments
in Newfoundland whose task is to look after the health and welfare of the people,
the Department of Public Health and the Department of Public Welfare. The
Department of Public Health is responsible for the control of infectious diseases,
the inspection of milk and other foods, the protection of water, sanitary
inspection, the health of school children and the treatment, in hospital or
otherwise, of the sick poor, including the blind, deaf and insane, throughout the
country. The Department of Public Welfare is responsible for the administration of
public relief, both in St. John's and in the outports, for child welfare, for the
management of the Home for the Aged and Infirm and for the administration of widows
and old age pensions.
589. The two Departments are
supervised by a Bureau of Health and Public Welfare, established under a
comprehensive Health and Public Welfare Act passed in 1931. Up to the present, the
health and welfare services of the country have not been organised in accordance
with the provisions of this Act. The Bureau consists of the Secretary of State,
who presides, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Works, the Controller
of the Treasury and the Director of Public Health.
590. The staff of the Department
of Public Health in St. John's consists of the Director of Public Health, a Medical
Officer of Health and Government Pathologist and Bacteriologist, two Laboratory
Assistants, four Inspectors, an Accountant and two Clerks. In addition, there are
12 Medical Officers of Health distributed over the country. The Department
possesses in St. John's a well-equipped laboratory in which the pathological and
bacteriological work of the country is carried out. The laboratory is also used as
a centre for the treatment of venereal disease in poor persons.
591. The staff of the
Department of Public Health consists of a Commissioner, an Inspector and
Accountant, a Cashier, a Bookkeeper and three Clerks. Under the control of the
Commissioner are upwards of one hundred Relieving Officers who are responsible for
the distribution of public relief both in St. John's and in the outports.
|St. Jacques, n.d.
Photo by Holloway. From the album of photographs furnished to the Newfoundland Royal Commission, August 1933. Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll-207),
Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
592. There are four Government
Hospitals in St. John's--a General Hospital, a Hospital for Mental and Nervous
Diseases, a Fever Hospital and a Tuberculosis Sanatorium. There is also a Home for
the Aged and Infirm. In addition, there are four hospitals in the Island to which
the Government make grants, the Grace Hospital in St. John's, which is subsidised
in respect of poor maternity cases; the hospitals at Twillingate, known as the
"Notre Dame Memorial Hospital," and at St. Anthony, both maintained by the
International Grenfell Association; and a small hospital at Grand Bank. St.
Clare's Hospital is operated by the Sisters of Mercy at St. John's. Hospitals are
maintained by the two Paper Companies at Grand Falls and Corner Brook, primarily
for the benefit of their own employees; a hospital is similarly maintained at
Buchans by the Buchans Mining Company, Limited. It may thus be said that there are
12 hospitals in the Island.
593. Apart from the doctors
associated with the Grenfell Hospital at St. Anthony, there are 83 doctors in
Newfoundland, a decrease of nine since 1921, and a decrease of 36 since 1911. Of
this number, 23 are established in St. John's and eight in the hospital towns of
Twillingate, Grand Falls, Corner Brook, Buchans and Grand Bank. The remainder, all
in private practice, are established in 62 of the country's 1,300 settlements. As
might be expected from the distribution of the population (see Map No. 1), the
majority of these are to be found on the east coast. There are indeed only 17
doctors on the whole of the south and west coasts.
594. In 1920 there was formed,
under the auspices of the Government, a Committee called the "Outport Nursing
Committee," which later grew into the "Newfoundland Outport Nursing and
Industrial Association," or "Nonia" as it is affectionately known throughout
the Island. As a result of the activities of this Association, which are carried
on partly by funds raised by a devoted band of voluntary workers and partly by
subscriptions from the people themselves, to all of which a small Government grant
is added, nursing centres have been established from time to time in some 25
settlements not ordinarily visited by a doctor. Owing, however, to the extreme
financial stringency, there are to-day only four such centres in the
Image description updated May, 2004.