Intended for healthcare professionals


Peter Gooderham

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 01 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2079
  1. Una Coales,
  2. Richard Marks,
  3. Adam Pringle

Peter Gooderham (“Bluedragon”) was a man of incandescent wit, warmth, and unquestionable wisdom who is mourned by a nation of general practitioners, law students, GP trainees, specialist registrars, and hospital consultants across all specialties of medicine. He started his medical career in general practice, moved into law after 15 years, and then became a law lecturer at Cardiff and then Manchester University. His wife, Sarah, is a GP partner in Shropshire. His untimely sudden death at a bank in Manchester on 9 February 2011, days after celebrating his 46th birthday, led to an outpouring of condolences on Facebook and doctors net fora from over 680 doctors responding to the news with tears, often shed for a man they had never met. Facebook pages started buzzing. A virtual wake took place at 21:00 on 11 February on the doctors net forum. Several hundred doctors participated in toasting Peter with 16 year old Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Pinot Grigio, or a virtual glass for being on duty, and echoed his favourite phrase, “which centre of excellence is this?” A memorial fund was instigated, with brainstorming sessions looking into ways to memorialise his name.

What made this man colossal? How did one man’s death have an impact on a nation of doctors from all specialties? Who was Peter Gooderham?

Peter’s father was a veterinary surgeon, and his mother a medical social worker. He studied both medicine and social and political science at Clare College, Cambridge. He qualified MB BChir in 1988. He completed general practice training and became a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1994, subscribing until 2004. He saw clearly that the future of NHS practice would not value quality, respect, or clinical autonomy, and so he left general practice after 15 years to study law.

He obtained first …

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