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Linford Rees

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 23 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:744

Former BMA president who was a leading light in 20th century psychiatry

In a career that lasted over 60 years, Linford Rees played a leading role in initiatives that transformed 20th century psychiatry. He was part of the movement that emptied the long stay asylums, returning patients to the community and to the care of their general practitioners. He organised and raised the status of the specialty and of specialist training. He conducted double-blind controlled trials on the important antipsychotic drugs chlorpromazine and haloperidol, and later on antidepressants. He demonstrated that asthma attacks in susceptible people could be triggered not just by infection and allergy but also by stress. He encouraged his staff at St Bartholomew's to take an interest in psychosomatic relationships—in particular, the effect on mental health of skin conditions, bowel disease, and sexual dysfunction. He was aware of the social stigma of psychiatric illness and did much to reduce it. And he was equally aware of the need to safeguard the rights …

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