Lives of the fellows

Keith Charles Robinson

b.16 June 1920 d.28 January 1994
MB BChir Cantab(1943) MRCS LRCP(1943) MRCP(1949) MD(1951) FRCP(1982)

Keith Robinson was the son of William Charles Robinson, a merchant on the Baltic Exchange. He was born in London and educated at Highgate School, going on to Peterhouse, Cambridge. His clinical studies were undertaken at the Westminster Hospital and after qualification he held house posts at the Westminster before he joined the RAMC. He served as captain and regimental officer in the King’s African Rifles in Kenya from 1945 to 1947. In 1948, back in civilian life, he was appointed resident medical officer at the Westminster and in the same year he married his first wife, Joan Macdonald. He was subsequently appointed senior medical registrar at the Whittington Hospital and in 1952 he became consultant physician at Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals, a post he filled with distinction until his retirement in 1987. He was also honorary consultant physician in rheumatology and diabetes to the Westminster Hospital for over 20 years.

There were two main facets to Keith Robinson’s career. The first was his drive and initiative in establishing a department of elderly care medicine at Watford, and then at Hemel Hempstead, in the early days of the NHS. His concern for the welfare of elderly people was evident to all who worked with him and he opened one of the first day hospitals in Hertfordshire in 1974. Throughout this period, particularly on the Hemel Hempstead site, the facilities were, to say the least, less than ideal and it was a tribute to his dedication and powers of communication that a tremendous camaraderie was built up between clinical staff, nurses and patients during the years that he worked in the department. The legacy he left behind him can now be seen on the Hemel Hempstead Hospital site, where a brand new, purpose-built block for elderly care was opened in 1991, which proved to be a catalyst for the rebuilding of the whole of the hospital site, with new departments of medicine, accident and emergency, obstetrics and paediatrics.

The other important facet of his life was his Christian faith. He was a churchwarden in Highgate and served on the parochial church council and Highgate Christian Council. He was very attached to his local village in north London and was a founder member of the Highgate Society.

Sadly his first wife died in 1972 and he later married Joan Nicholls, a senior clerical medical officer in public health medicine. They had three children, Katherine, Ian and Keith. Catherine followed her father into medicine. Tragically, Keith died after being knocked down while crossing the road.

I G Barrison

[Brit.med.J., 1994,308,1707]

(Volume X, page 421)

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