Lives of the fellows

Graham Neale

b.11 August 1929 d.5 October 2013
BSc Lond(1950) MB ChB Bristol(1960) MRCP(1963) FRCP(1971) FRCPI(1979)

Graham Neale was a consultant gastroenterologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, a former professor of clinical medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, and an early and active supporter of the campaign group Action against Medical Accidents, which champions the cause of patients harmed by clinical error. He was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, the second of five children of Stanley William Neale, a railway clerk, and Evelyn Neale née Le Mesurier, the Jersey-born daughter of a farmer. He was educated at Isleworth County Grammar School and went on to King’s College, London, to train as a teacher, gaining a BSc in 1950 and a diploma in education in 1951.

From 1952 to 1955 he carried out his National Service, as a flight lieutenant in the technical training command of the Royal Air Force. He then used a service gratuity to pay his fees at Bristol University Medical School. He studied the required subjects during a premedical year and then graduated MB ChB in 1960. He was a house physician on the medical unit and then a house surgeon on the surgical unit at Bristol Royal Infirmary. In 1961 he was a senior house officer in medicine at Bristol General Hospital.

In 1962 he went to London, as a house physician at Hammersmith Hospital and then at the Brompton Hospital. In 1963 he was a registrar at St George’s Hospital, and subsequently a registrar and senior registrar at Hammersmith Hospital.

From 1966 to 1967 he was a lecturer in gastroenterology at the Postgraduate Medical School of London, Hammersmith. He then became a lecturer in medicine and assistant director of medical studies at the Postgraduate Medical School. From 1976 to 1980 he was professor of clinical medicine at Trinity College Dublin. While in Dublin he helped establish St James’s as a premier teaching hospital.

He then returned to England, where he combined clinical work, research and teaching at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. During this period he helped develop a pioneering method of intravenous feeding. After his retirement from the NHS, he continued his research and teaching work at University College and Imperial College, London.

During the latter stages of his career, Neale became concerned with the safety of patients and was a trustee of Action against Medical Accidents. In 1999 he was lead clinician in the UK Adverse Events pilot study, which looked at the clinical records of two London district general hospitals. The results were reported in an article in the British Medical Journal in 2001 (‘Adverse events in British hospitals: preliminary retrospective record review’ BMJ 2001 322 517-9). Despite suffering from motor neurone disease, Neale continued to teach and advise on medico-legal cases until shortly before his death.

At the time of his election to the fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 1971, Neale listed swimming and skin-diving, opera and theatre as his interests. He also stated he was a member of the Fabian Society.

Neale was married twice. His 1953 he married Shirley Mary Green, the daughter of a Civil Service examiner. They had a son, Ian, and a daughter, Elizabeth. The marriage was dissolved in 1968. In 1971 he married Rosemary Geoghegan, with whom he had a son, Johnathan, and a daughter, Fiona. He was survived by his children and grandchildren.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2013 347 6712 – accessed 24 January 2016; The Irish Times 26 October 2013 – accessed 24 January 2016; Forever missed Graham Neale – accessed 24 January 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

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