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Addressing Ill Health: Sickness and Retirement in the Victorian Post Office

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

David R Green, Douglas H L Brown, Kathleen McIlvenna

Original languageEnglish
JournalSOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE
Early online date15 Nov 2018
DOIs
Accepted/In press3 Sep 2018
E-pub ahead of print15 Nov 2018

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Abstract

This article explores ill health and retirement in the Victorian Post Office. Compared to other branches of the Civil Service, ill health was of greater importance as a cause of retirement. Post Office doctors kept careful records of sickness absence, which rose over the period for all workers. These records were also used to determine if employees should be pensioned off on grounds of ill health. Employees in different sections of the Post Office experienced varying levels of sickness depending on their place of employment and the type of work undertaken. Feminisation of the workforce also affected the prevalence of sickness absences, especially in London. Place of work was an important influence on the pattern of sickness with urban areas having higher levels of sickness than rural districts, with distinct sets of conditions linked to each.

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