Lives of the fellows

Richard Arden Jones

b.7 February 1910 d.12 January 1995
MRCS LRCP(1937) MB BS Lond(1941) MRCP(1947) FRCP(1955)

Richard Arden Jones graduated at University College in 1937. His initial hospital appointments were at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hackney, and subsequently at the West London Hospital. The development of tuberculosis however interrupted his career and he was graded unfit for military service. The war years were therefore spent in EMS hospitals, initially at in West London where he was commended for bravery in civil defence. Subsequently he moved to the EMS hospital at Newmarket where he was to spend the rest of his professional career. The initial appointment was as registrar and subsequently assistant physician.

At the inception of the NHS in 1948 he was appointed as consultant physician to the West Suffolk Hospital group, a post he held until his retirement. He gave stalwart service to the group, but although Newmarket Hospital was the smaller of the two hospitals it was there that he based himself and, together with colleagues in surgery, pathology, orthopaedics and other specialties., this relatively small hospital developed into a unit that provided the highest standard of medical care. Apart from his own dedication one of the main factors in its success was his ability to attract the highest quality of junior staff to this small unit where he was able to provide them with an excellent standard of training and supervision. Most of the junior staff recruitment came by word of mouth and the high standard is reflected today in the large numbers who hold consultant appointments in the NHS and some who occupy chairs of medicine and related specialties in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.

'A J’, as he was known to his friends, colleagues and many of his patients, was able to inspire great loyalty from all who came into contact with him. As a physician his main characteristics were his seemingly endless patience and a meticulous attention to detail. In consultation nothing mattered other than the patient before him who had his undivided attention for as long as was necessary, often resulting in the tendency of his afternoon out-patient clinic and ward rounds to go on beyond sunset. The managers of the 1990s would not have been pleased with this but I doubt if they could have influenced it as they would have encountered the fearsome loyalty of his patients.

He had an enquiring mind and often questioned certain aspects of medical dogma with arguments based on sound physiological and anatomical principles. Towards the end of his career he involved himself in the study of immunosuppressive therapy in chronic inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and was able to present a paper to the Royal Society of Medicine just before his retirement.

His love of good food and wine was always evident and under his guidance the highly successful Newmarket Medical Society acquired one of the finest cellars in the county.

Many of his colleagues like myself will miss him not only for his loyalty and support but also for his impish sense of humour invariably accompanied by a chuckle and a smile.

I E Evans

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,683]

(Volume X, page 267)

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