Admission as assistant-surgeon - 1845
Admission as assistant-surgeon - 1845

Royal NavyNaval Surgeon 1844

Admiralty Office, Somerset House

Director general of Naval Hospitals and Fleets - Sir William Burnett, F.K.H., M.D., F.R.S.


A candidate for admission as an assistant-surgeon in the royal navy, must produce a certificate from the Royal College of Surgeons of London, Edinburgh, or Dublin, of his fitness for that office; and for admission as a surgeon shall produce a diploma or certificate from one of the said royal colleges, founded on an examination, to be passed subsequently to his appointment of assistant-surgeon, as to the candidate's fitness for the situation of surgeon in the navy; and in every case the candidate producing such certificate or diploma shall undergo a further examination before the director-general of the medical department of the navy, touching his qualifications in all the necessary branches and points of medicine and surgery for each of the steps in the naval medical service. Previously to the admission of assistant surgeons into the navy, it is also required that they produce proof of a classical education and a competent knowledge of Latin; and -
That they are of good moral character, the certificate of which must be signed by the clergyman of the parish or by a magistrate of the district.
That they have served an apprenticeship, or been engaged six months in practical pharmacy.
That their age be not less than twenty, nor more than twenty four years; and that they are unmarried.
That they have actually attended an hospital in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Glasgow, or Aberdeen, for two years subsequently to the age of eighteen, in which the average number of patients is not less than 150.
That they have been engaged in actual dissections of the human body twelve months; the certificate of which must state the number of subjects or parts dissected by the candidate.
That they have attended lectures &c. on the following subjects, at established schools of eminence, by physicians or surgeons of the recognised colleges of physicians and surgeons in the United Kingdom, for periods not less than hereunder stated; observing however, that such lectures will not be admitted if the teacher shall lecture on more than one branch of science, or if the lectures on anatomy, surgery, and medicine, be not attended during three distinct winter sessions of six months each: -
- Anatomy, eighteen months; or general anatomy, twelve months, and comparative anatomy, six months.
- Surgery, eighteen months; or general surgery, twelve months, and military surgery, six months.
- Theory of medicine, six months; practice of medicine, twelve months, * (or eighteen months, if given in conjunction.)
- Clinical lectures at an hospital as above, twelve months; on the practice of medicine, six months; on the practice of surgery, six months.
- Chemistry, six months; or lectures on chemistry three months, and practical chemistry, three months.
- Materia medica, six months.
- Midwifery, six months; accompanied by certificates stating the number of midwifery cases personally attended.
- Botany, six months; or general botany, three months, and medical botany, three months.

* Six months' lectures in pathology, if given at an university where there may be a professorship on that branch of science, will be admitted in lieu of six months' lectures on the practice of medicine

In addition to the tickets for the lectures, certificates must be produced from the professors &c. by whom the lectures were the given, stating the periods (in months) actually attended by the candidates. The time, also, of actual attendance at an hospital or infirmary must be certified; and the tickets as well as certificates of attendance, age, moral character, &c. must be produced by the candidate immediately on his being desired to appear for examination.

A favourable consideration will be given to the cases of those who have obtained the degree of M.D. at either of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Dublin, Glasgow, or London; or who, by possessing a knowledge of diseases of the eye, medical jurisprudence, natural history, natural philosophy, &c., appear to be more peculiarly eligible for admission into the service, observing, however, that lectures on these or any other subjects cannot be admitted as compensating for any deficiency in those required by the regulations.

No assistant-surgeon can be promoted to the rank of surgeon until he shall have served, three years in the former capacity, one year of which must be in a ship actually employed at sea. And it is resolved that not any diploma or certificate of examination from either of the aforesaid royal colleges shall be admitted toward the qualification for surgeon, unless the diploma or certificate shall be obtained on an examination passed after a period of not less than three years' actual service, observing that no one can be admitted to an examination for surgeon unless he be a member of one of the above-named royal colleges, and produce the most satisfactory certificates that he has performed, on the dead body, under the superintendence of a professor or teacher of known eminence, all the capital operations of surgery, and is perfectly competent to perform any operation with skill and dexterity, and thoroughly acquainted with the anatomy of the parts involved in such operations; without which qualification no one hereafter can be promoted to the higher branches of the service. And whenever assistant-surgeons already in the service (whose professional education may not be in accordance with the above) obtain leave to study previously to their passing for surgeon, they will be required on their examination to produce testimonials of their having availed themselves of the period of leave to complete their education agreeably to these regulations generally.

Candidates who may be admitted into the naval medical service must serve in whatever ships &c. they may be appointed to; and that in the event of their being unable to do so from sea-sickness, their names cannot be continued on the Naval Medical List, nor can they, of coarse, be allowed half-pay.

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