"Report of Alan Stevenson"
Engineer, on Lighthouses,
23d Novr 1844
To The Bell Rock CommitteeAgreeably to the Remit from this Committee of date the 17th July, I have now to Report my views as to the best method of paying the Medical attendance on the various Lighthouse Stations.
Report of Alan Stevenson, Engineer
In reporting upon this Subject I have been guided by the general principle that the Lightkeepers should as far as possible be placed in regard to Medical attendance in the same position as others in a similar station of life. – This appears to me to be the only safe rule by which to regulate Medical attendance, for there are disadvantages arising from putting it at their own disposal without cost, as well as danger from rendering it too difficult of access. If Medical aid is made so expensive as to amount to a prohibition, serious consequences might result to the service which might otherwise be prevented, and the consideration which the Board has always shewn for the comfort and safety of the Lightkeepers would seem in this case to be overlooked. But the free access to such privilege without any expense to the Keepers might on the other hand occasionally be abused and lead to a needless and improper expense. What I would therefore propose is to make the Lightkeepers in isolated stations pay the same fee to a Surgeon, that they would pay in ordinary situations – the difference of expense being defrayed by the Board itself. Few people in the working class are disposed to call for Medical aid more frequently than is necessary, and there seems therefore every reason to believe that this arrangement would at once completely prevent too frequent visits from the Surgeon, and at the same time avoid the risk resulting from deferring to apply for Medical Aid from the fear of paying a high fee. In this view I have divided the Stations into three classes. 1st Those which require no assistance from the Board, being in or near Towns. 2d Those situations which appear to me to admit of an agreement being made with a District Surgeon for Medical Attendance during a whole year on payment of some such sum as a guinea, without the Keeper paying any part. Such an arrangement has for many years existed at Island Glass. And 3dly Similar situations which require a separate payment for each visit, and of which the Keeper should pay a proportion. An arrangement which was first introduced at Banahead on the suggestion of Mr Sheriff Jardine.
To the first class, or those which require no medical aid, belong the Bell Rock, Girdleness, Buchanness, Kinnairdhead, Covesea Skerries, Cromarty, Chanonry and Tarbetness.
To the Second Class, or those at which it seems probable that the District Surgeon would consent to give his attendance for one guinea a year, belong Start Point, Sumburghhead, Dunnethead, Island Glass, Corsewall, Mull of Galloway, Point of Ayre, and Portpatrick.
In the third class, or those at which each visit of the Surgeon must be paid separately, the Board defraying the greater proportion, and the Keeper paying mostly such a fraction as shall constitute a fair fee to a country Surgeon for a visit to a working man, I reckon the remaining Stations, of which a list is given in the subjoined Tablet, with the lowest sums for which it seems probable that a surgeon would undertake to make an occasional visit.
Inchkeith £ 1. 1. “So far as I can ascertain, the ordinary fee paid to Surgeons by working men is 1/6 a visit; and I would therefore suggest that from each of the above sums a deduction of 1/6 should be made as payable by the Keeper. The principle of such an arrangement has as already noticed been acted upon in the case of Barrahead; but the Keeper is charged with 10/6 of the sum paid to the Surgeon. I cannot help thinking that this is too large a sum for a man with the Salary of a Lightkeeper, who is not better than an ordinary Craftsman; and if the view of this Report be followed out, there seems to be no reason why the Keeper at Barrahead should be an exception.
Isle of May 1. 11. 6
Pentland Skerries 1. 11. 6
Cape Wrath “. 15. “
Barrahead 2. 2. “
Skerryvore 3. 3. “
Lismore 1. 1. “
Islay “ . 10. 6.
Kintyre “ . 10. 6.
Pladda “ . 10. 6.
Little Ross “ . 10. 6.
Calf of Man 1. 1. “