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John A J Macleod

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 20 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4296
  1. James D M Douglas

    Rural doctor and world expert on island health care

    Dr John Macleod and his father before him served the Hebridean island community of North Uist for 77 years. His death marks the ending of an iconic style of UK rural general practice. He had an international reputation as the world’s expert on island health care.

    Sir John Dewar MP chaired the Highlands and Islands Medical Service report that was the world’s first government inquiry into rural health care delivery, published in 1912. His recommendations to constitute an essential general practice service to tackle rural deprivation were not implemented until 1932, when John’s parents arrived on North Uist with some certainty of income despite the island’s poverty. The Highlands and Islands Medical Service became the template for the establishment of NHS general practice by the postwar government in 1948.

    John was born three years after his parents moved to North Uist and went to Lochmaddy Primary School before secondary school in Stornoway and Keil School, Glasgow. He studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and enjoyed the newfound freedoms, social life, and rugby in the city. He graduated in 1963, with national service with the Royal Navy minesweepers as intercalated life experience. House jobs in Glasgow were followed by teaching hospitals in London, where he gained a perspective in tertiary care.

    The Macleod basket

    The doctor’s wee boy returned to his island with his wife Lorna after 10 years of hospital experience, as Dr John. His father had gone by the nickname Zadok Macleod (after Zadok …

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