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John Hilton Walker

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 24 September 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2351
  1. Alan Craft

John Hilton Walker, who has died aged 93, was professor of general practice, family and community medicine in Newcastle. Like many of his era he was stung by the remarks of Churchill’s doctor, Lord Moran, who said that general practice was where those who fell off the consultant ladder landed. He was determined to improve its image, starting at the beginning of medical education. In the early 1960s a survey of medical schools in the UK had shown that there was very little, if any, structured teaching and the impression was that general practice was an afterthought. Students in their final year had very short attachments in an unstructured and unsupervised way, where they were shown something of the peculiarities of general practice, with little participation by staff of the medical school. In 1964, as part of a new integrated experiment in medical education, all students in Newcastle were exposed to family and community medicine soon after their arrival in medical school. A group of enthusiastic local GPs were recruited, and all students had regular visits to GP surgeries. They were also given a …

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