Robert William Watton

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 07 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4880
  1. Simon Knowles

    Robert William Watton (“Bob”) qualified from the London Hospital Medical College in 1954, setting up a general practice with his wife, Mary, while he was training in public health. Initially medical officer of health (MOH) for Stepney, Bob became MOH and community physician for Tower Hamlets from 1964 to 1974, running an all-purpose health department which spanned environmental health and public health inspectorate, school health, maternal and child health, district midwifery and nursing, and the social services. He had particular interest in poor housing and in juvenile problems, including delinquency. He was influential in the programme of post-war slum clearance and in improving medical care for poor people.

    In 1974 Bob moved to the Department of Health and Social Security as a medical officer and then senior medical officer, linking with the TUC (Trades Union Congress), and advising on the health of police and firemen, environmental aspects of off-shore and other oil exploration and the prevention of accidents, working with the Department of Transport, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Trade.

    On retirement, Bob continued to work part time until the age of 70. He then devoted his time and energy to his family and his garden.

    He leaves a wife, Mary; two daughters; and five grandchildren.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4880


    • Former medical officer of health and district community physician Tower Hamlets, and senior medical officer Department of Health and Social Security (b 1923; q The London 1954; FFOM, FFPHM), died peacefully in the company of his daughters on 13 August 2010.

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