Lives of the fellows

Oliver Lester Schreiner Scott

b.16 June 1919 d.25 May 2012
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BChir Cantab(1943) MRCP(1944) FRCP(1964)

Oliver Lester Schreiner Scott was a consultant dermatologist at Charing Cross Hospital, London and vice dean of the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School. Born in London, he was the eldest of the four children of Ralph Lester Scott, an ENT surgeon who was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and his wife, Ursula Hester née Schreiner, who was the daughter of the Right Honourable William Philip Schreiner, a barrister who was the prime minister of the Cape Colony during the second Boer War. Taken to Cape Town by his parents when he was nine months old, he was educated at the Western Province Preparatory School in Cape Town and the Diocesan College (usually known as ‘Bishops’) in Rondebosch. He greatly enjoyed his school days and attended reunion dinners all his life. He began to study medicine at Cape Town University but moved to the UK in 1937, and continued his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge and St Thomas’ Hospital.

His time at Cambridge was cut short due to the Second World War and he did house jobs at St Thomas’ (in the Woking War Hospital), before joining the Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve) Medical Service and serving as a medical specialist with the rank of squadron leader from 1943 to 1946 in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany.

On demobilisation he went back to South Africa as a registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town but returned to the UK in 1948 and became a part-time registrar in the skin departments of both St Thomas’ and the Charing Cross Hospital. In 1950 he was appointed consultant dermatologist to the Redhill General, Wembley General, St Luke’s and Royal Surrey County hospitals. Six years later, in 1956, he was given the post of physician-in- charge of the skin department at Charing Cross Hospital. He also ran a thriving private practice at various hospitals including the King Edward VIIth. A colleague described him as ‘one of the most highly respected, famous and leading dermatologists of his generation’. An honorary dermatologist to the French Hospital in London he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre Nationale du Mérité.

The author of several significant papers in his field, he also contributed the section on diseases of the skin to Clinical genetics edited by Arnold Sorsby (London, Butterworths, 1953).

In his spare time he supported a number of medical charities and was director of the Medical Insurance Agency (the profits from which were all donated to charity) and a member of council of the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College. Honorary treasurer of the Royal Society of Medicine, he also served a term as president of the British Association of Dermatologists. He enjoyed horticulture and all aspects of fishing, writing ‘coarse, game or sea’ in his list of hobbies.

In 1943 he married Katherine Ogle (‘Fairy’) née Branfoot, the daughter of Hugh Shimwell Branfoot. She was working as a radiographer when he met her at the Woking War Hospital. Katherine predeceased him in 1987. He continued to enjoy his retirement with friends and family, attending theatres and concerts and returning from time to time to the Cape with his close friend, Liz Russell. When he died he was survived by his two daughters, Lyndall DiMarco and Oenone; grandchildren, Jemima, Gideon, Aime, and Alexia; and his great-grandchildren.

RCP editor

[The Diocesan College Magazine Vol XCVII no3 Sept 2012 - accessed 3 November 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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