Intended for healthcare professionals


Ian Greville Tait

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 25 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1170
  1. Stephen Lock, former editor, BMJ
  1. splock{at}

Pioneering polymath and Benjamin Britten’s general practitioner

When Ian Tait entered general practice in 1959 a dowager’s message told him that GPs were received only on Fridays at 11 am, through the back door. Yet a few years later the practice was firmly in the 20th century, with a national reputation. Not only had it adopted the rapid developments elsewhere (such as the practice ancillary team), but Tait had also pioneered a vocational training scheme, problem oriented medical records, and practice educational meetings. Surprisingly the location was Aldeburgh, the Suffolk seaside town that in E M Forster’s words is a “bleak little place, not beautiful.” As today, it contained a mixture of aristocrats, fishermen, former spooks, and musicians—including Benjamin Britten, who became Tait’s patient and friend.

Though on call 24 hours most days, Tait also served the community outside medicine, becoming a town councillor, for example, in a (vain) attempt …

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