Donald William Cameron

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 23 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1014
  1. Alan Cameron

Donald William Cameron (“Bill”) was born to Margaret and Donald Cameron on 8 May 1928 in the Highland town of Invergordon. He was the youngest of their three children. In 1944 the family moved from Partick, Glasgow, to the West End of Edinburgh to Palmerston Place Church. Bill was offered a place to study medicine at Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh, receiving a grant of £20 per term from the Carnegie Foundation.

Medical school days after the war were hard but extremely rewarding. Bill had little time for relaxation but did prove himself an accomplished hockey player, playing in goal and gaining colours for Edinburgh University in 1950.

Bill graduated with the “triple qualification” in 1951 and started his medical career in Stracathro Hospital in Brechin on the princely salary of £350 per year.

In September 1952 he reported for national service at Lytham St Anne’s and, after a week at the Institute of Aviation Medicine at Farnborough, was posted to the Isle of Man, where he worked as a singlehanded medical officer for the remainder of his national service.

In September 1954 he took up a training assistant post in Lochmaben, with Donald Campbell, and went on to obtain a GP assistant post in Alyth, Perthshire. His final appointment was to the medical practice of M M Milne at 31 Bridge Street Hawick in 1958. Milne died suddenly in 1963 and Alastair Suttie was appointed as his new partner.

Bill had the ability to teach, not only the technical aspects of being a GP, but also something of the art and wisdom needed to do the job well. Possessed of a keen intellect and sense of honesty and fairness, he became involved in local and national medical politics through the local health board and the BMA. He was awarded an MBE for services to the medical profession in 1987.

He retired in 1988 at the age of 60, and good health allowed him and his wife, Helen, to combine their love of travel, culture, and adventure, with a particular highlight being the ascent of the Annapurna sanctuary. He was never happier, however, than when surrounded by his family, and it is fitting that the whole extended family were together just two weeks before his death at their annual reunion in the Lake District.

Bill was a devoted supporter and servant of the NHS. Life dealt him a few medical blows, and he had his fair share of “user experience.” He died suddenly at the Borders General Hospital. He leaves Helen, his beloved wife of 60 years; children Alan, Morna, and Pauline; and six grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1014


  • Former general practitioner (b 1928; q Edinburgh 1951; MBE), died from a cardiac arrest on 22 April 2014.

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