Lives of the fellows

Montague Philip Joyston-Bechal

b.26 April 1930 d.25 February 2009
BA Oxon(1951) BM BCh(1954) MRCP(1961) DPM(1964) FRCPsych(1982) FRCP(1986)

Montague Philip Joyston-Bechal was a consultant psychiatrist in London. He was born in London, the son of Miriam and Edward, who was a medical practitioner. He attended Merchant Taylors’ School and studied medicine at Queen’s College, Oxford and Westminster Hospital Medical School. Apparently he cut a dashing figure at Oxford, acting and attending parties at which Kenneth Tynan might also be present. He continued his theatrical interest at the Westminster, finding the time to play the lead in hospital pantomimes.

On qualification in 1954, he was house physician at the Westminster and then did National Service from 1956 to 1958 as a medical officer with the RAF. He was posted to Sri Lanka and greatly enjoyed acting as a medical officer during the filming of The bridge on the river Kwai. Before returning to the UK, he spent six months as a GP in Australia.

He then enrolled on the postgraduate psychiatry training course at the Maudsley Hospital. Passing the Diploma in Psychological Medicine in 1964, he was appointed senior registrar in the department of psychiatry at the London Hospital. Three years later he became consultant psychiatrist to the Wembley, Edgware General and Shenley hospitals. In 1974 he joined the staff of the Central Middlesex Hospital and remained there as a consultant psychiatrist until his retirement from the NHS 16 years later, serving on numerous hospital committees.

It was said of him that his temperament was very suited for his career, as he was a compassionate men, by nature curious about the human condition. His specialty was psychotherapy and sexual problems, and he developed a successful private practice – including medico-legal work – which he continued long after retirement until his 79th year. He published a paper on stupor in 1966 (Br j psych, 112, 967-981) and ‘Problems of pregnancy termination on psychiatric grounds’ (J Coll Gen Pract,1966,12, 304-312). With F Fransella he wrote ‘Investigation of conceptual process and pattern change in psychotherapy group’(Br j psych, 1971,119, 199-206).

His love of the theatre lasted throughout his life, and he also enjoyed sailing, trout fishing, attending literary festivals, jazz and real beer. While working in Australia he had met his wife, Sally, in Perth and they married in 1958. She was a dentist who became a senior lecturer in oral medicine and, in later life, was also a successful sculptor. Sally survived him with their two sons, and three grandchildren.

RCP editor

[The psychiatrist online 2010 34 38]

(Volume XII, page web)

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