Capital and Coast District Health Board logo

1914 - 1999

In January 1914, the Wellington Hospital Board resolved to provide facilities at the Hospital and Dispensary for the treatment of venereal disease. They further resolved that no charge be made to medical practitioners of the district for tests for VD done at the Hospital's laboratory. The Medical Superintendent was asked to report on the dangers of VD and how to prevent it. These measures, therefore, anticipated the major increase in numbers of people with venereal disease that accompanied the troops returning from WW1.

In 1918, a total of 61 patients were admitted to Hospital wards (mostly to the 'Convalescent Ward'), and there were an increasing number of patients being seen in the out-patient department. Dr Bertram Aldred was appointed the Hospital's first VD Physician in 1919. By 1922, the 'Tin Shed' was being used as a VD Clinic.

A Commission of Enquiry conducted in 1923 identified that major increases in hospital-based facilities were needed to cope with the ever-increasing patient numbers, and this led directly to the Board undertaking the building of Wards 8, 9 and 10 which were completed in 1927. There was provision for a VD Clinic on the ground floor with private access to this. Ward 8 was used for a short period as a VD ward, and Wards 9 and 10 for urology patients. The Tin Shed was used as a VD ward also, at least until 1930. In 1929, Dr Aldred complained about this, without effect, and in 1931 his position was terminated, the Board citing financial constraints.

In 1934, the Board agreed to pay the VD Medical Officers £100pa.

From the 1930s, gonorrhea was managed by the Urologists, initially Drs R Campbell-Begg and P A Treahy, then Drs Treahy and B C Rennie, followed in succession by Drs H Gowland, A F Ferguson and D Urqhuart-Hay. Syphilis was managed by two medical officers, Drs W C G Paterson and R J Maunsell 1932 - 1939, Dr Paterson and Dr E G Lynch 1940 - 1944, Dr Lynch and Dr R D Morrow 1945 - 1948, and Dr Morrow and Dr D J Brown 1949 - 1952. A succession of physicians spent short periods of time as VD medical officers in the 1950s and 1960s, including Drs G F Hall, C M Luke, and B J Kelly. There were no applicants for the advertised VD MO (syphilis) in 1968.

The urologists continued to have responsibility for patients with gonorrhea up to 1971, when Dr Kelvin Bremner was appointed to the service. Almost immediately, he proceeded to Liverpool to specifically train in venereal disease, and while he was away, the service was covered by Drs David Andrews and Bryan Christmas.

Dr Bremner returned from Liverpool in 1972, and was Medical Director of the VD Service from 1975 - 1986. Dr Barbara Lovie conducted the Women's Clinic 1976 - 1977, and Dr Margaret Sparrow was appointed in 1977. Dr John Miller was Visiting Medical Officer 1978 - 1994, and Dr Arthur Lewis succeeded Kelvin Bremner as Medical Director 1986 - 1992. Dr Margaret Sparrow was acting Medical Director 1992 - January 1995, when Dr Hilary Andrews was appointed to head the service. Dr Linda Dayan was the first full-time medical officer and specialist trainee, completing her examinations in 1995. Dr John Adams, Dermatologist joined the service on a locum basis in 1981, and permanently from 1984.

The service moved from the front block (basement, Regina Terrace entrance) to Hospital Road in 1979. In 1991 major renovations to the Hospital Road Clinic were completed. At this time, the service name was changed from Venereal Disease to Sexual Health. In 1999, the service was disestablished, and WIPA were awarded the contract to provide sexual health services, based on the After-hours Medical Centre at the northern end of Adelaide Road.

Last updated 29 October 2016.