Lives of the fellows

William Raymond Forbes

b.9 April 1933 d.18 November 2004
MB BCh BAO Belfast(1956) DObst RCOG(1958) DCH(1959) MRCP Edin(1963) MRCP(1965) FRCP(1978) FRCP Edin(1977)

Bill Forbes served the children of Swansea and the surrounding area as a consultant paediatrician for more than 25 years, until his retirement in 1993. He went to Swansea after medical studies at Queens University, Belfast, and after having worked as a paedriatric registrar first in Newcastle, then in Bristol under John Apley [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.17] and finally as senior registrar in Cardiff to 'Pop' Watkins. Bill was a hands-on, practical paediatrician with a sound clinical judgement. His opinion was very much valued and sought after - in reality he became the children's doctor to the families of medical colleagues, nursing staff and other healthcare workers.

After joining Swansea, Bill soon realised the need for a dedicated unit to treat neural tube defects for the whole of south west Wales. With great drive and determination, and with the help of neurosurgical colleagues and the league of friends of the hospital, the necessary money was raised to build a dedicated 12 bed unit with fully equipped physiotherapy room, hydrotherapy pool and consulting rooms. The spina bifida unit attached to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, was opened in August 1976, the running of which he generously relinquished to a newly appointed colleague with an interest in neural tube defects.

Bill was a marvellous committee man and served at various times as chairman of the local medical staff committee, member of the area health authority, council member of the British Paediatric Association and president of the Welsh Paediatric Society.

He married Joyce Ismay in 1962 and they had three children. Bill's passion in life, besides his family, was golf. Once, while in York to attend a conference, he played 18 holes in the morning, and then played another 18 holes the same afternoon in Scarborough some 40 miles away. His other interests were walking and ornithology.

He was loved by children and well thought of by the parents, nursing staff and other health care personnel. The paediatric department was very popular with junior doctors seeking training. He was extremely proud of his trainees, a number of whom are now consultants around the country and abroad. He will be remembered with great affection.

Narendra Agarwal

(Volume XII, page web)

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