Lives of the fellows

William Macfarlane Lancaster

b.30 October 1919 d.9 January 1988
MB BCh Glasg(1943) FRFPS(1947) MRCP(1949) FRCPG(1967) FRCP(1979)

William Lancaster was born at Lennoxtown in Stirlingshire and educated at Kilsyth Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he graduated in medicine. Shortly after qualifying he joined the RNVR, serving as a surgeon lieutenant from 1944-46.

After demobilization he began his clinical training, initially as a medical registrar at the Western Infirmary Glasgow with the legendary D K Adams [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VI, p.4], and subsequently as a senior registrar at Dumfries Royal Infirmary, previously the Victoria Infirmary, in Glasgow.

In 1962 he was appointed consultant physician to the Northern Regional Hospital Board at Inverness. His responsibilities, which he shared with three colleagues who all predeceased him, were extensive and involved much travelling in all weathers on poor roads. He and his colleagues covered an area of 10,000 square miles in the service of the Board. In addition, his duties as a general physician included the care of the elderly until the appointment of a geriatrician in the early 1970s. With the passage of the years, William Lancaster, who had always been highly regarded for his medical knowledge and integrity, became an elder statesman within the Highland medical establishment. His outstanding qualities as a man and a physician were recognized appropriately in his appointment by the Secretary of State for Scotland to the membership of the Highland Health Board. His contributions to the Board’s discussions were always carefully considered and delivered with a delightful sense of humour. He was a highly valued and influential member.

He developed a serious illness in 1983, from which he never fully recovered. He retired from his post as consultant physician in 1984.

In private life he was essentially a family man, his busy professional life leaving little time for interests outside his home, although he enjoyed fishing and also served in the RNVR for over 20 years.

William will be remembered by many Highlanders for his skill as a physician, complemented by his kindly, reassuring manner. But he will be remembered especially by those who were privileged to be his friends for his complete integrity and dependability, supported by his Christian faith.

In 1954 he married Anne Macleod, a nursing colleague and daughter of a Highland headmaster. They had a daughter who died in infancy and two sons. William died in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, where he had been a consultant physician from 1962 until his retirement. His wife and sons survived him.

AR Morrison

[Brit.med.J., 1988,296,580]

(Volume VIII, page 269)

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