Michael Thomas Ward

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1137
  1. Tim Ward

Michael Thomas Ward (“Mike”) was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to Peter and Winifred on Burns’ night 1935.

A spirited education at St Mary’s propelled Mike, in 1958, into the dragon’s lair under the auspices of Felix Eastcott, who had recently been credited with the first carotid endarterctomy, and the brilliant but irascible cardiologist Jack Litchfield.

This was the era of Richard Gordon’s inspiration, however, and long periods of dedicated continuous duty were peppered with Dunkirk fuelled pockets of hilarity and high jinks. This forged cast iron camaraderie between the troops, still solid nearly 50 years later when many paid respects at Mike’s memorial service.

After house jobs, Mike was called up for national service. He was stationed with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Dusseldorf, Germany, for three years where his general practice days began. A third house job in obstetrics before he left proved invaluable as any obstetric complications required a diminutive Herr Winkler to propel a behemoth army ambulance at a blistering pace to the local hospital 40 minutes away, with only the briefest glimpse of the road ahead.

On his return to the United Kingdom in 1963 he took up a partnership in general practice in Hampshire, not least because he felt drawn to the sea and a resolve to learn to sail.

His practice was broad, from fashioning arteriovenous fistulas on the Portsmouth renal unit to acute obstetrics, and most things in between. Ultimately, however, he developed a passion for education and carved a generous niche for himself in the local industry of training new general practitioners. Evolving from local trainer to course organiser for the Portsmouth vocational training scheme, he was eventually appointed associate director for the South-East Hampshire and Isle of Wight division of the Wessex Deanery. He led residential new trainer courses working as a group facilitator and maintained his influence after retirement by continuing in an advisory role for upcoming tutors of trainers.

His lifelong dedication to caring for people engendered not just a much loved family doctor but a much loved colleague, teacher, friend, and most of all husband, father, and grandfather.

He leaves his wife, Veronica, to whom he was married for 47 years; four children; and seven grandchildren.


  • Former associate director for general practice south east Hampshire, general practitioner, and educationalist (b 1935; q St Mary’s Hospital, London, 1958; FRCGP, DRCOG), died from cancer of the head and neck on 10 December 2007.

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