Lives of the fellows

William Gilchrist Patterson

b.3 July 1900 d.5 January 1956
MB ChB Edin(1924) MD Edin(1926) DPH Eng(1929) MRCP(1930) FRCP(1951)

William Patterson was the second son of George Patterson, headmaster of Whitburn School, West Lothian. At George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, he was dux and played for the first fifteen. At Edinburgh University he won numerous prizes, graduated with first class honours, and was awarded the Ettles scholarship for the outstanding graduate of his year. After house appointments and a period in general practice he turned to a career in public health. His first post was that of medical officer of health for the Chertsey combined district, and this was followed by appointment as medical officer of health for the county borough of Barnsley. From Barnsley he returned to Surrey as deputy county medical officer, and in 1945 became the county medical officer. During his years in Surrey he had a big share in the upgrading of many hospitals and the building of the new St. Helier Hospital at Carshalton. In 1947 he was appointed senior administrative medical officer to the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board. In this post he remained until his sudden death in 1956.

Patterson was a most distinguished medical administrator whose influence in the early years of the National Health Service extended far beyond the Region which was fortunate enough to have him as its chief medical officer. He was the first chairman of the Senior Administrative Medical Officers and a member of the Standing Nursing Advisory Committee and of other central committees. He was a man of high intelligence and firmness of decision, and withal of great charm and compassion.

He married Mary Murray, daughter of George Eggie, of Kirriemuir, in 1929; they had one daughter and four sons.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1956, 1, 116-17, 175; Lancet, 1956, 1, 110-12; NAPT Bull., 1956, 19, 70 (p).]

(Volume V, page 324)

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