Lives of the fellows

Clive James Hayter

b.3 September 1922 d.2 March 1986
BSc Lond(1950) MB BS(1953) MRCP(1956) FRCP(1971)

Clive Hayter, senior clinical lecturer in medicine, head of the department of nuclear medicine and consultant physician to the General Infirmary at Leeds from 1960-85, was born in Portsmouth without any strong family background in medicine. Before beginning his medical training he served as a pilot with the RAF from 1941-46, in both night fighter and low level bomber squadrons, in the UK, India and Burma, and attained the rank of flight lieutenant. He retained his interest in flying, both as a civil pilot and flying instructor, for most of his life. He was also a keen motorcyclist.

In 1946 he married Iris Hedges, daughter of a civil servant, and entered St Thomas’s medical school. He had a brilliant undergraduate career, qualifying BSc with first class honours in physiology, and later MB BS with a distinction in medicine. After junior appointments at St Thomas’s Hospital he joined their department of medicine as a lecturer, becoming involved in research led by Sharpey-Schafer [Munk's Roll, Vol. V,p.372] and was closely involved with the experimental work that Mills and dc Wardener carried out related to the effects of blood volume expansion in animals. It was at this time that he developed his lifelong interest in the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radioisotopes in human pathophysiology. Contemporaries from this time remember his rather ‘Punch-like’ figure, often squatting cross-legged on a bench, smoking his pipe and airing distinctly radical political views, scoring intellectual points off his fellows. He was known to his small circle of intimates as ‘Grumps’, but no one doubted his enthusiasm, reliability and superb technical capabilities particularly in the field of radioisotopes.

In 1960, the General Infirmary at Leeds decided to establish a department of nuclear medicine and Clive Hayter was appointed as its head; the first such independent department in the NHS. With enthusiasm and skill he built up his department over the following years, maintaining a blend of clinicians, biochemists, physicists and technical staff, and explored almost every aspect of this new and exciting field but in particular radioisotope imaging and radioimmunoassay. He was involved in the fight for recognition of nuclear medicine as an independent discipline in the NHS, and was a founder member and first president of the British Nuclear Medicine Society in 1968. He also took on more clinical duties, becoming a consultant physician to the Infirmary. He was elected to the fellowship of the College in 1971.

In later years he assumed a greater role in management in the NHS as consultant representative on the district management team of the Leeds Western District Health Authority, and was its chairman in 1981. As may be imagined, this led to a number of conflicts with colleagues who could not (or did not wish to) appreciate that there were changes afoot in the NHS, but Clive Hayter always attempted to defend any decisions made and to warn his colleagues of the dangers of hospital administrators managing without good medical advice.

To the outsider his private life seemed tough and uncompromising but he did not complain. His wife Iris had developed chronic renal failure at a relatively early age and was on regular haemodialysis for a good part of her life. Clive took on the responsibility of her haemodialysis three times a week, year after year, including the practical aspects of cannula insertion etc. When she died in 1983 it seemed that much of his inner drive left him. He suffered from long-standing asthma which forced him to give up his beloved pipe and in his last year laid him low in hospital. Indeed it was a cruel irony that, after retiring due to ill health in 1985, he spent the rest of his remaining months in hospital. The state of his asthma often gave his colleagues in a tense committee meeting an indication of his involvement in the discussion, for as the argument increased so did Clive’s wheeze.

Coupled with these formidable personal problems was the clear feeling that he was at heart an academic who was forced to take on a good deal of humdrum service work. Together this may perhaps explain the view which many of his colleagues had of him: a rather melancholic and unsympathetic figure. But he had a fierce loyalty to his department and its staff and this was equally reciprocated. He had a clear and active mind with a wide-ranging intellect and considerable foresight. At lunch he could be an interesting raconteur, with an occasional devastating side comment, at times directed against his full-time university colleagues.

He was survived by two sons and a daughter. One of his sons is a consultant geriatrician in Stoke and a member of the College. Few who knew Clive Hayter will easily forget him.

JK Wales
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

(Volume VIII, page 218)

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