Lives of the fellows

Richard William Penny

b.9 October 1937 d.29 January 1996
MB BS Lond(1962) MRCS LRCP(1962) MRCGP(1965) MRCP(1969) FRCP(1992)

Richard Penny was a general practitioner who combined his work in a substantial practice in South London with part time work in hospital posts. He was born in London and educated at Dulwich College and Guy’s Hospital. After house jobs at Guy’s he was a trainee in South London and then joined a small group practice in West Dulwich. By the 1990s he was the senior partner and the practice had moved to a purpose built health centre as one of the first wave of fund-holding practices and had grown to a ten doctor team with more than 20,000 patients. At the same time Penny served as Dulwich College’s school medical officer.

He passed the very first membership examination of the College of General Practitioners (it was not as yet Royal) in 1965, and Penny subsequently served on the South East London Faculty Board of the College for several years. After six years as a full time GP he passed the MRCP and held clinical assistant posts in cardiology, general medicine and in gastroenterology. He was also an honorary senior lecturer in the department of general practice at King’s College Hospital from 1976 to 1979. In 1981 he became a part time medical officer in dermatology at King’s and later held the same post at Lewisham Hospital from 1980 until 1991. Dermatology continued to be his main clinical interest for the rest of his professional life. From 1979 to 1981 he was a regular medical contributor on television and radio.

Richard Penny was a trainer in general practice for seventeen years and, in the early 1970s, was the first GP elected to the standing committee of members of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1985 he was invited by the College to help establish a new examination for the diploma in geriatric medicine and was a member of the examination board and an examiner until 1992.

Following retirement in 1994, when both he and his wife had undergone major cancer surgery, Penny worked as a part time locum consultant in dermatology.

He played rugby well into his fifties. His interests also included the works of John and William Hunter, military history, art deco ceramics and Vanity Fair medical cartoons. He met his wife, Jill, when they were in their early teens. They married in 1961 and had three children.

John Needle

[Brit.med.J., 1996,312,771]

(Volume X, page 382)

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