Harold Stormont RossBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7485.258-b (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:258
Harold Stormont Ross
Retired consultant psychiatrist (b Gorebridge 11 April 1926; q St Andrews 1952), died from cardiac failure in Aberdeen on 20 August 2004.
Harold Ross was a nationally respected figure in the psychiatry of learning disability. He was first and foremost a devoted clinician and an inspiring teacher. As a gifted administrator he guided several health boards into joint working with local authorities and supported multidisciplinary approaches to care long before these themes were widely adopted.
He was an immensely sociable person and imprinted on others a great respect for the dignity of people with a learning disability. This extended to the families of his patients and he was closely involved in finding innovative ways for them to be involved in supporting services.
That long stay hospitals would eventually close he was certain. His greatest triumph was in convincing local health service managers that it would take many years to resettle all long stay patients in the community and that inpatient facilities of the highest calibre had to be retained.
A son of the manse, Harold attended Dundee High School and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read mechanical science. He served in the RAF as a bomb aimer during the war.
Having held junior posts in Dundee and Perth he was appointed deputy physician superintendent at the State Hospital, Carstairs, in 1957.
He led the learning disability service in Fife before his appointment as physician in charge of this service for the north east of Scotland.
He served on the secretary of state’s Melville committee, which made far-reaching recommendations on the education of children with learning disabilities.
Following his retirement in 1985 he was immensely proud to serve as a medical commissioner with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.
He is survived by Nessie, his wife for 50 years; a son; and two daughters, one an anaesthetist, the other a paediatric dietitian. [Kathleen Ross, Robert Drummond]
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