Lives of the fellows

Edwin Howard Kitching

b.26 March 1911 d.4 October 1968
MRCS LRCP(1935) MB BCh Leeds(1935) DPM Eng(1936) MD(1937) MRCP(1938) FRCP(1965)

Howard Kitching went from Harrogate Grammar School on a scholarship to Leeds University, qualifying with first class honours in 1935 and in the next three years obtained the Leeds MD, Membership of the College, and the Diploma in Psychological Medicine. He learned his psychiatry at Cefn Coed Hospital, where he became deputy superintendent. In 1939 he became the first psychiatrist to be appointed to the staff of the Manchester Royal Infirmary and for the next ten years he carried alone both the clinical work and the teaching there. During the war he served as a psychiatric specialist in the Royal Air Force, and in 1946 he published in the United States a sensitive and commonsense book entitled Sex Problems of the Retired Veteran. (New York 1946, Emerson Books).

After the war he became dissatisfied that the Infirmary had no psychiatric beds and took on an additional appointment at Withington Hospital in South Manchester, where he was given a few beds in a general ward. In 1949 he published in the Lancet a pioneering report on the successful treatment of psychiatric patients in a general hospital.

Early in his career he was much interested in psychotherapy. Faced with the large number of out-patient referrals that followed the introduction of the National Health Service, he realised the impossibility of employing this technique on any large scale and veered to his reliance on physical methods. Always his teaching was essentially practical.

Besides being a lecturer in the University Department he was adviser in psychiatry to Manchester Corporation, and took responsibility for a new day centre and hostel for chronic psychiatric patients. His influence also played a part in the construction of the large in-patient psychiatric unit at Withington Hospital. In 1965 he was elected FRCP.

Kitching’s outside interests included the Stock Exchange, which he understood better than most doctors, and golf. When he became ill he had just finished his term as Captain of Hale Golf Club. He died from carcinoma of the bronchus shortly after a surgical operation to relieve mediastinal pressure, and is remembered as a colleague whose straightforward advice and warm cheerful friendship were always available. He left a widow and two children.

WIN Kessel

[Brit.med.J., 1968, 4, 194; Lancet, 1968, 2, 879]

(Volume VI, page 271)

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