Derek John Llewellyn

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 21 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:453
  1. Nigel C H Stott

    Derek John Llewellyn is best known for the establishment of vocational training for general practice in Wales. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he travelled the length and breadth of Wales to recruit and train clinical teachers in general practice. It was a task that he shared with his close colleague Professor Robert Harvard Davis, who became one of his course organisers. Derek, in his capacity as regional adviser and sub-dean of postgraduate studies (general practice) at the Welsh National School of Medicine was responsible for the development of postgraduate education from 1973 onwards.

    Following a choral exhibition to Llandaff Cathedral School he progressed to Denstone College and the Welsh School of Architecture. National Service was with the Welch Regiment in Egypt, Palestine, and Cyprus. In 1948 he joined the Territorial Army as assistant adjutant 5th Battalion, the Welch Regiment. After the second world war Derek entered medical training at King’s College London and at the Westminster Hospital. He was secretary to the students’ union, secretary to the boat club, and editor of the Westminster Hospital Gazette. An early interest in forensic medicine and toxicology led to undergraduate prizes. This also fuelled his lifelong interest in industrial health: he gained the diploma of industrial health in 1960 and the diploma of medical jurisprudence in 1962.

    He entered general medical practice at Bridgend in the Vale of Glamorgan in 1962, but he continued his involvement with industrial and aviation medicine. With the MRCGP behind him in 1966 (FRCP, 1976) and an Upjohn travelling fellowship in 1968 his academic interests begun to flourish. He co-authored an important book The Practice of Family Medicine with his close colleague Dr David Coulter (Livingstone Press, 1971) and was appointed to the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1973 as senior lecturer and postgraduate adviser in general practice. He continued to study and graduated MEd in 1977, MFOM in 1983, and with the certificate of general aviation medicine in 1984.

    Derek represented his profession at many levels. He was elected to the General Medical Council for three terms of office; he held numerous offices for the Royal College of General Practitioners, including being chairman of Welsh Council. He served on the Welsh General Medical Services Committee and the Committee for Postgraduate Education in Wales. In 1987 Her Majesty the Queen awarded him the OBE for services to medicine.

    Derek was industrious, disciplined, and systematic in all that he did. He was a senior manager of outstanding ability and a popular family doctor. He found time for golf, heraldry, and reading, and he was a primary supporter of the establishment of clinical audit in general medical practice in Wales. In his final years he became deeply involved in gathering the history of general practice. The Royal College of General Practitioners leads this long term project in collaboration with the National Library for Wales; it is largely a result of Derek’s vision and personal initiative.

    This courteous, kind, and honourable man is survived by his wife, Dawn, whom he cared for unstintingly during his later years. He described the team of carers who assisted him with Dawn’s needs as his adopted daughters because it was they who made it possible for him to care for his wife at home.


    • Former sub-dean of postgraduate studies in general practice and regional adviser for Wales (b 1928; q Westminster Hospital 1956; OBE, FRCGP, MEd, MFOM, Cert AvMed), died from ischaemic heart disease on 10 December 2007.

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