Catalogue description National Coal Board: Medical Department: Papers

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Details of COAL 43
Reference: COAL 43
Title: National Coal Board: Medical Department: Papers

This series contains papers relating to the policy and research files of the National Coal Board Headquarters' Medical Department. They concern accidents, medical treatment and examinations, first aid, pneumoconiosis field research, health and safety, and welfare and education.

Date: 1947-1987
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

National Coal Board, Medical Department, 1947-1987

Physical description: 41 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Publication note:

Further information on this subject can be found in William Ashworth, The History of the British Coal Industry, Vol.5, 1946-1982: The Nationalized Industry, (Oxford, 1986) cc 10.

Administrative / biographical background:

The Medical Department was formed in June 1947 by the appointment of a Chief Medical Officer and a Director of Research in Medical and Human Problems. Immediately, Divisional Medical Officers were appointed and, more gradually Area Medical Officers. In 1951 the two senior posts were combined into one. In the early years of the Medical Service Department of the National Coal Board formed part of the Manpower and Welfare Branch and its purpose initially was to influence the development of the amount of medical treatment available at large collieries. As it evolved, it began to provide advice to the Divisional/Area Medical Officers and to other associated departments in the Manpower and Welfare Department such as Health and Safety and Welfare and Education, rather than deal with the usual daily medical problems of colliery life. This led to it becoming a separate organisation.

It assessed the medical fitness of entrants for jobs and of applicants for pensions and superannuation, and carried out regular chest X-ray checks on underground workers to detect and control pneumoconiosis. Much of its work was, therefore, carried out at a local level. Its responsibilities included radiological centres and it had links with the Institute of Occupational Medicine.

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