Lives of the fellows

Graham Alan John Harrison

b.20 February 1957 d.18 March 2010
MB ChB Bristol(1980) MRCP(1984) DTM&H Liverpool(1988) MRCPath(1990) FRCPath(1998) FRCP(2008)

Graham Alan John Harrison was a consultant medical microbiologist and director of the National Public Health Service for Wales Microbiology Laboratories in Carmarthenshire. Born in Birkenhead, he was the son of John, a community training manager, and his wife Irene Emily. Educated at Birkenhead School, he studied medicine at Bristol University and Frenchay Hospital where he did house jobs for a while after qualifying in 1980.

He then spent five months in Cornwall in early 1981 at the Royal Cornwall (formerly Treliske) Hospital, before returning to Bristol as registrar in pathology at the Bristol Royal Infirmary for three years. While there he gained valuable training and experience in clinical microbiology. In 1984 he moved to Ham Green Hospital doing house jobs in general medicine, care of the elderly, thoracic medicine and, finally, infectious diseases.

Moving to Wales in 1986, he was appointed senior registrar in medical microbiology at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) and remained there for four years. There he gained experience of a wide range of microbiological and infectious disease problems and spent approximately half of his time seeing patients. In 1988 he passed the Liverpool Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the MRCPath the following year. From August 1990 he spent nine months at Neville Hall Hospital at Abergavenny.

A locum consultant at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen in 1991, he was appointed consultant in medical microbiology and director of the National Public Health Service Microbiology Laboratories the next year. Over the following 18 years he presided over a series of mergers and reorganisations while continuing his support for the hospital, teaching and research. He was also a member of the working group on standard methods of the Public Health Laboratory Service until 2005.

The author of a number of papers on different bacteria and the problems of infection and antibiotic resistance, he also attended numerous conferences.

A keen cyclist and hill walker, he also spent time at the gym. He and his wife achieved a certain amount of self-sufficiency by running a 10-acre smallholding on which they grew vegetables, poultry and ‘small animals for the table’ as he described it. They also carried out an active tree planting and coppice management programme for firewood. He wrote that he had a long-standing interest in (Zen) Buddhism but seemingly saw no contradiction in enjoying, as a leisure pursuit, rough shooting and vermin control for local landowners.

In 1981 he married Katherine Jean, and she worked as a GP in Carmarthenshire. They had two children. When he died, as a result of an unfortunate accident at home, his wife and children survived him.

RCP editor

[BBC News - accessed 27 May 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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