Peter Francis Kennedy

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 06 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f413
  1. Greg Richardson,
  2. Tony Rugg

Peter Kennedy’s disarming modesty gave no clue to his international achievements, but his quiet attentiveness, enthusiasm, support, and thoughtfulness gave some idea of the qualities he had that led him to those achievements.


Peter Francis Kennedy was born in Bradford and met his future wife and lifelong companion, Sarrie, at primary school. He attended St Bede’s Grammar School in Bradford and entered medical school on an adolescent impulse. After house jobs, a junior doctor post at Naburn psychiatric hospital in York provided Peter with accommodation for his wife and young family, and Peter embarked on a psychiatric career, joining the Yorkshire psychiatric rotation and enlisting for the Diploma in Psychological Medicine in Leeds, where Professor Max Hamilton lectured with a pinch of snuff. In 1969, when Peter applied for a senior registrar post before it was “his turn,” he was unsuccessful. The Medical Research Council in Edinburgh was not so shortsighted, however, and Peter’s academic career began in earnest. Working with Norman Kreitman and Robert Kendall, Peter published extensively on the management of people who had attempted suicide and gained an international …

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