This chapter focuses on the care of sick sailors during the war of 1739–48. Jamaica, as Britain's most important base, had more men serving there, which was reflected in the greater numbers who fell sick. This difference in scale led to different methods used to care for the sick in Jamaica and the Leeward Islands. In Jamaica, a salaried surgeon was responsible for providing care, appointed and paid for by the Admiralty. The sick were initially placed in private houses that were hired as the service required them, but were later accommodated in a new, purpose-built, hospitals. In the Leeward Islands, the responsibility of care was given to a private contractor. In return for being paid a fixed sum for each man cured, he was required to provide full medical facilities at both Antigua and Barbados. The detailed workings of the two systems are examined.
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