Until 1922, patients with fractures were managed by the general surgeons. Each surgical ward would have one or two fracture cases under the care of an Honorary Visiting Surgeon. The visiting surgeons found that, by 1922, the demands for fracture management had increased to a point that they were unable to cope, and they requested that the Medical Superintendent, Dr D Macdonald Wilson take over the treatment of all fractures. Ward 4 was designated the male fracture ward, and the small room at the back of the ward served as the plaster room.
A splint-making department and the massage department had been created during WW1. In 1922, the Massage Department was located in a wooden building alongside the Victoria Hospital, and was staffed by 4 masseuses. In 1928, this department moved to the newly-erected front block, and, as the Physiotherapy Department, has remained in that location to date (2003).
When the Trentham Military Hospital closed in 1922, Dr Walter Sneddon Robertson, was appointed to the staff of Wellington Hospital as Physiotherapeutist. His duties consisted of superintending the Massage Department and the after-treatment of fractures and nerve injuries. When Dr Wilson was absent, Dr Robertson took charge of fracture management, and when Dr Wilson took 5 months study leave in 1923, Dr Robertson became permanently in charge of fractures.
Dr Robertson resigned in 1929 to enter private practice, and Dr Alexander Gillies was appointed full-time Orthopaedic Surgeon. Dr Gillies role changed to a part-time one in 1932. Dr Robertson relieved Dr Gillies in 1936, and returned as full-time orthopaedic surgeon in 1939.
Dr J Kennedy Elliott was appointed Honorary Visiting Assistant Orthopaedic Surgeon in 1937. He was absent from the Hospital on WW2 service 1939 - early 1945. He resumed his post as Honorary Visiting Assistant Orthopaedic Surgeon on 23 Mar 1945.
In 1945, Dr Robertson left to serve with UNRRA in China for two years, and his place was taken by Dr J K Cunninghame. Dr Robertson returned to be Director of Orthopaedic Services in 1947.