Ian Richardson

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 27 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2679
  1. Lewis Ritchie,
  2. John Howie,
  3. Denis Pereira Gray

Qualifying with MB ChB honours from Edinburgh University in 1944, Ian Richardson was one of the most respected and influential of the first wave of UK professors of general practice. He first aspired to be a surgeon, but was thwarted by severe skin allergy problems. He obtained his MRCP in 1946 and spent a year as an assistant in a Dunfermline general practice, before completing the diploma in public health in 1948. After four years as an occupational health physician in Glasgow, he moved in 1952 to Aberdeen University as a lecturer and then reader in public health and social medicine, completing both an MD and a PhD on the health of men in heavy industry. There he was soon taking a lead in the education of medical students and in developing student attachments to general practices, as part of his vision of community based teaching of the subjects of public health and social medicine.

In 1966, when the university acquired funding from the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust to create a general practice teaching unit, Ian Richardson was one of an extensive field of applicants, the majority of whom were senior north east general practitioners without academic experience. He was appointed reader, a decision which raised eyebrows among many locally who had wanted a “real” general practitioner to lead the new …

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