Intended for healthcare professionals


Gwyn Howells

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 15 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3521
  1. David Horsman,
  2. Enid Howells

After house officer posts in Wales, Gwyn Howells chose to serve in the Royal Navy. He was posted to HMS Dolphin, where his main role was the medical supervision of the submarine escape training tank in Gosport.

In 1957 Gwyn joined the St Helens Road practice in Swansea, where he remained a partner and highly respected family doctor until his retirement. Gwyn took an active interest in medical politics and was a founder member of the South Wales Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

On becoming medical officer to the local training centre, Gwyn became acutely aware of the lack of consistent general medical care of the attendees. In 1986 he published his seminal paper “Are the medical needs of people with mental handicap being met?” The issues raised stimulated worldwide interest and had substantial input into the Welsh strategy for the community care of people with learning difficulties, which was later adopted throughout the UK. He was a forerunner in developing a protocol for routine health screening of patients with learning disabilities by GPs.

Outside his medical career Gwyn was a keen private pilot; his Piper Cherokee was hangered at Fairwood Airport Swansea, where he arranged rallies for Flying Rotarians. He also enjoyed sailing his yacht, Artemis, in the Bristol Channel and beyond.

Gwyn was an avid reader and a clever conversationalist, loving to debate current affairs and philosophical ideas.

He leaves Enid, his wife of 61 years, who is a retired consultant child psychiatrist; and two sons, David and Jonathan.

In retirement Gwyn and Enid divided their time between Swansea and Windsor, to be near their family, including their five grandchildren.

General practitioner (b 1932; q Welsh National School of Medicine, Cardiff, 1954; RD, FRCGP, DCH), died from metastatic colon cancer and aortic stenosis on 29 November 2017

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