b.10 February 1935 d.9 January 2011
MB BChir Cantab(1961) DObst RCOG(1964) MRCP(1966) FRCP(1984)
Francis William Stanley (‘Bill’) Webb was a consultant rheumatologist at the Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk. His father, Frank Stanley Webb, was a flying officer with the RAF in the Second World War and was killed in action in 1941. Educated at Marlborough College, he studied medicine at Clare College, Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College.
After qualifying in 1961, he did house jobs at the London Hospital and spent some time at the Royal United Hospital in Bath before going back to the London. On deciding to specialise in rheumatology, he trained at the Middlesex Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Hospital in Hammersmith, returning to the London as a senior registrar. He went to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on rotation and spent a year as fellow in rheumatology at UCLA in California, USA in 1971. Two years later, in 1973, he was appointed as a single handed consultant rheumatologist to the Ipswich Hospital.
He worked hard to expand and develop the department, a specialist rheumatology nurse was appointed and he managed to acquire another consultant post. A synovial fluid analysis service was established and a same day service begun for local GPs and existing patients. He found much needed funding for equipment, books, journals etc by enrolling the department in multicentre clinical trials. Always keen to teach both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, he was an academic tutor for the department of medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and was invited to lecture to the MRCP course at Whipps Cross Hospital.
The author of several papers on the clinical and experimental aspects of his specialty, he spent time helping to develop the medical library at his hospital. He also took an active role in management, chaired the East Anglian rheumatology committee for five years and was chairman and organiser of the Ipswich Hospital and district ethical committee. The services offered to often very disabled patients were greatly improved thanks to his hard work.
In 1964 he joined the Royal Naval Reserve, eventually gaining the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander and being decorated in 1992.
Keen on sport, especially sailing, the annual hockey match he organised between the hospital consultants and juniors was long remembered. Gardening was another favourite pastime.
In 1967 he married Sylvia Ruth née Cooper whose father, Brian, was a fellow of Clare College and a lecturer in engineering. When he died from cardiac problems, Sylvia survived him together with three sons and three grandchildren.
[BMJ 2012 345 6790 www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6790 - accessed 6 August 2005]
(Volume XII, page web)
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