John HavardBMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3218 (Published 16 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3218
- Caroline Richmond
John Havard, a former general secretary of the BMA, was the architect of Britain’s seat belt and drink-driving legislation. He also modernised the BMA, increasing the respect in which it was held by both the profession and the public.
Havard was a fourth generation doctor and the first not to speak Welsh in his family. His Wales-born father was a Lowestoft GP and John, who at one point wanted to be an archaeologist, was expected to carry on the family tradition. From Malvern College he went to Jesus College Cambridge, doing his clinical training at the Middlesex Hospital and staying on to train in the professorial medical unit until called to do his national service. Shortly before he left he helped set up a sports injury clinic at the Middlesex after pulling his hamstring.
He spent 1950-52 as a doctor working on aircrew selection. Bored and with time to spare, he took a correspondence course in law. Later he sat Cambridge law finals and, after eating the requisite number of dinners at an inn of court, was called to the bar in …