1932 - 1960

Mention of a post of Neurologist at Wellington Hospital appears in a 1932 report resulting from a complete review of the medical staff. Three Divisions of staff were proposed, Surgical, Medical and Pathological. Within the Medical Division was included a Department of Neuropsychiatry. However, full implementation of the report did not occur did not occur for some years.

Dr Ivan ('Dusty') Allen was appointed to the staff as honorary assistant physician in 1932. He had returned that year from postgraduate training at the West-End Hospital for Nervous Diseases, London and at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square. He established the first consultant neurology practice in New Zealand, based in Wellington but he toured the country and received referrals from centres outside Wellington. His expertise was eventually recognised at the hospital in 1937 when his designation was changed to honorary visiting neurologist.

Dr Winston Charters was appointed assistant neurologist in 1944, was succeeded briefly in that role by Dr Peter Tuckey (1947 - 1948) and by Dr Allen Erenstrom (1948 - 1949). Win Charters was elevated to visiting neurologist in 1948 but resigned that position when he was posted to Silverstream Hospital in 1949. On return from Silverstream Hospital in 1950, he was appointed visiting assistant physician with additional responsibilities for neurology. Dusty Allen was off staff from 1947 - 1951. In 1952, Win Charters was asked to give up the neurology clinic duties in favour of Dr Allen who had rejoined the staff.

John ('Jack') Bergin was appointed to the visiting staff in 1955, having trained at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Queen Square. An astute clinician, Jack pushed for an EEG service at the hospital. He noted that more than 300 patients annually were sent from Wellington Hospital to Porirua Hospital for this investigation but it would be January 1959 before the hospital acquired a Type T transistor 8-channel Offner Electroencephalograph.

Ann Harden, a physiology graduate who had trained at Queen Square in London, and who had for the past two years been Assistant Lecturer in the Physiology Department at Otago Medical School, was appointed to be EEG technician. She remained there at least until 1961 before returning to the UK to take up an appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond St. Sister Joan Stevenson-Wright, who had been sister/technician in Cardiology for many years, was trained by Ann Harden to replace her. During the 1960s and early 70s there were difficulties in retaining the services of an EEG technician, and for a time, patients again travelled to Porirua Hospital for these investigations.



Last updated 29 October 2016.