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Neville Martin Bailey

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 27 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4473
  1. Sheila Bailey

Neville Martin Bailey served as house surgeon at Withington Hospital and then as house obstetrician at Saint Mary’s Hospital Manchester. National service was still obligatory, so he joined the Royal Air Force and served in fighter command as senior medical officer at RAF Odiham from 1 January 1956 to 31 December 1958. During this time the station was testing new aircraft, often flying round the clock, and Neville had to be available on call for very long periods. He decided to use the time to study for an external degree in zoology at London University and travelled to the University of Reading on an occasional free Saturday, where the professor of zoology allowed him to use the laboratory and kept back specimens for his practical work. In 1958 he was awarded a BSc (Hons) from the University of London. At this time, he was invited to join the Royal Air Force on a permanent commission, but progression would inevitably have meant working in London, and he was a countryman who disliked city life.

By this time, we had three children, and with a fourth due imminently, he decided to become a general practitioner—ideally in a country practice. But when a singlehanded retirement practice vacancy came up in Peterborough, he applied and was offered the appointment in mid-December 1958, but only on the condition that he could provide premises and a commitment to offer a service to the existing patients of the practice—24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year—from 1 January 1959. The RAF had provided a gratuity of £600, and Neville’s father lent us a deposit to enable us to buy a house. The house we bought in such a hurry soon proved to be in the wrong place and had no access to a …

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