Peter Higgins

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 13 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2365
  1. Joanna Lyall
  1. j.lyall{at}

Championed general practice as an academic specialty

Peter Higgins was a champion of general practice education in the years before vocational training became mandatory, and he was a key figure in community development in Thamesmead, the new town where he worked as a general practitioner for 30 years.

After hospital jobs at University College Hospital, London, where he qualified in 1947, he worked in general practices in Rugeley, a mining village in Staffordshire, and Castle Vale, a new housing development in Birmingham, and he saw the need for services provided by a range of professionals working from purpose built health centres, which were still rare in the 1960s. Interested in the links between social deprivation and illness, he believed that many patients could be kept out of hospital if given more effective primary care.

Practice in Thamesmead

In 1968 he was appointed senior lecturer in general practice at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, with responsibility to set up a teaching practice in Thamesmead, the new London County Council development planned to …

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