King's College London

Research portal

‘The Natural Foundation of Perfect Efficiency’: Medical Services and the Victorian Post Office

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

David R Green, Kathleen McIlvenna, Douglas Brown

Original languageEnglish
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Accepted/In press29 Oct 2018
E-pub ahead of print23 Jan 2019


King's Authors


This article explores the creation of the Post Office medical service. Working for the Post Office was relatively well-paid and an increasing number of doctors were employed. Medical provision expanded with the introduction of non-contributory pensions from mid-century and developed into a comprehensive and nationwide service that was involved at all stages of employment, from initial recruitment through to receiving a pension. Post Office doctors assessed candidates’ fitness for work, checked on sick absences, provided free medicine and advice and visited workers’ homes. Doctors were responsible for determining whether or not a worker should be pensioned off on grounds of ill health. The career of the first Chief Medical Officer, Dr Waller Lewis, also illustrates the range of other areas in which the Post Office medical service became involved, including the clinical assessment and relief of sickness as well as identifying preventative measures to improve health outcomes.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454