Lives of the fellows

Michael Chew Koon, Lord Chan of Oxton Chan

b.6 March 1940 d.21 January 2006
MBE(1991) MB BS Lond(1964) MRCS LRCP(1964) MD Singapore(1969) MRACP(1971) FRACP(1975) FRCP(1986) MFPHM(1995) FRCPCH(1996)

Lord Michael Chan was a paediatrician in Liverpool, a campaigner for the rights of ethnic minorities, and one of the first people of Chinese descent to be a member of the House of Lords. He was born in Singapore, the son of Chieu Kim Chan, an inspector of schools, and Rose Chan, a housewife. The family was part of Singapore’s Christian minority. He was educated at Raffles Institution and then studied medicine at Guy’s in London.

After house posts he went back to Singapore, where he was a lecturer and consultant paediatrician at the University of Singapore. He had a particular interest in diseases of the blood. In 1974 he returned to the UK to study Von Willebrand’s disease at the Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond Street. He moved to Liverpool two years later, where he became a senior clinical lecturer at the School of Tropical Medicine and a consultant paediatrician.

After leaving his Liverpool post, he served as director of the NHS Ethnic Health Unit in Leeds from 1994 to 1997. He was also chairman of the Minority Ethnic Taskforce. In 1996 he became visiting professor in ethnic health at the University of Liverpool.

He also served as an adviser on race relations to the Home Secretary and was a commissioner for the Commission for Racial Equality between 1990 and 1995. He became a member of the Press Complaints Commission in 2002.

He was an elder of the Liverpool Chinese Gospel Church, and in 1991 was awarded an MBE for his work as chairman of the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission. In 2001 he was made a member of the House of Lords, where he sat as a crossbench peer.

In 1965 he married Irene Wei Len Chee, an Asian community education coordinator for Wirral Borough Council. They had a son and a daughter.

RCP editor

[The Lancet. 2006 Feb 18;367(9510):562; The Telegraph 26 January 2006; The Times 8 February 2006; The Guardian 13 February 2006]

(Volume XII, page web)

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