Obituaries

Derek Paul StevensonHugh Jackson HoustonSamuel Thompson (Tom) IrwinJohn Stephen Phillips JonesCesari MaltoniDorothy Anne MorganWilliam Michael O'Connor MooreOwen Parry-JonesHenry Bruce TorranceGerald Wiseman

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7288.738 (Published 24 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:738

Derek Paul Stevenson


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BMA secretary 1958-76 (b 1911; q Guy's 1935; FRCGP, CBE), d 4 March 2001. After qualifying he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving with distinction in the Far East and in France. His posting to oversee medical recruitment at the War Office brought him into close touch with Charles Hill, then BMA secretary. After the war Hill “recruited” him to the BMA staff. He got there just as Aneurin Bevan introduced the NHS Bill; he retired 30 years later after many of the perennial crises of the NHS. He adapted quickly to the storms of an ultra-democratic association, having several favourable qualities. A man of distinguished presence—once called “debonair”—he was a fine judge of the art of the utmost possible; intensely loyal to the association and to his colleagues, to whom he delegated with trust and judgment. Above all, he realised that the NHS and the professions were news; he made and kept close links with the fourth estate, in whose ranks he had many friends. This involved much commitment, well in excess of 9 to 5; figuratively, he “lived over the shop.” His BMA years involved too much to catalogue. Among the highlights two royal commissions (on pay and on education of doctors); an uprising against the reform of the General Medical Council; the “battle of the pay beds”; and, domestically, a major reform of the BMA itself. As ambassador overseas, Stevenson was first secretary of the Commonwealth Medical Association, and later chairman of the World Medical Association. On his retirement in 1976, the BMA awarded him its gold medal as “an outstanding leader, a tireless champion of the profession, and a great secretary.” He had earlier been awarded an honorary doctorate. One might think such a career precluded all else. Not so. Derek was for 60 years …

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