Lives of the fellows

Keith Leiper

b.5 June 1967 d.21 October 2011
MB ChB Aberd(1990) MRCP(1994) FRCP(2006)

Keith trained in Aberdeen, qualifying MB with commendation in 1990. After house officer and SHO posts in Aberdeen and Glan Clwyd he was appointed as gastroenterology registrar in Liverpool in 1994. He was subsequently the Leslie Parrott Research Fellow of Crohn’s and Colitis UK… doing work on the pathogenesis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease for which he was awarded his MD. He developed a passion for clinical research, particularly for innovative clinical trials seeking better treatments for inflammatory bowel disease and he subsequently became a committed advocate for involvement in clinical trials as the regional lead for the gastroenterology trials network (CLRN). He was appointed as consultant at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 2002 and was Clinical Director for all too short a time, after his cancer had already been diagnosed. As a consultant he continued to be exceptionally widely read, had a phenomenal grasp of the recent medical literature and was an enthusiastic and much loved teacher and trainer at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

He will be best known to the UK gastroenterology community for his outstanding work as the first lead for the UK Inflammatory bowel disease audit. He led the interview team to obtain the first funding and then with great tact, charm and persuasion steered the audit through to extremely high participation. This, through development and uptake of the IBD Standards, as well as helpful and always tactful feedback, has led to a marked improvement in standards of IBD care. This could not have been achieved without the involvement of the patient organisations, particularly Crohn’s and Colitis UK, and Keith worked very closely with them, both through the audit and as regional medical advisor. Keith also had an immensely beneficial effect on the care of IBD patients locally, particularly with the establishment of one of the first joint paediatric/adult handover clinics with colleagues at Alder Hey Children’s hospital.

It is for his personality, his enormous kindness, selfless generosity, integrity (not even a sponsored biro crossed his desk!) and constant good humour that Keith will be particularly remembered. He was universally loved: by his patients with whom he was always patient and never judgmental, and also by all the staff with whom he worked, all of whom he treated as his friends. He was unfailingly fun to be with, even when he became ill, and was constantly prioritizing others above himself.

He was a member of Amnesty International and the Howard League for Penal Reform. He was a saintly atheist, a fun-loving vegetarian, a pacifist but a very assertive footballer, a very unusual and life-enhancing person who is enormously missed. He is survived by his wife Libby, also a doctor, and by their children Cameron, Mirren and Aylish to whom our thoughts go.

Jon Rhodes

[Reproduced, with permission, from the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) newsletter]

(Volume XII, page web)

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