Lives of the fellows

Norman Alexander Coutts

b.20 January 1935 d.30 April 2014
BSc Glasg(1955) MB ChB(1958) DCH(1961) MRCP Glasg(1965) MRCP Edin(1966) MRCP(1967) FRCP Glasg(1974) FRCP Edin(1978) FRCP(1982)

Norman Alexander Coutts was a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, and Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Greenock. He was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, in a tenement building, the son of Ronald Miller Coutts, a dental mechanic. His upbringing in humble circumstances meant that in his future career he identified strongly with disadvantaged families and their problems. He studied medicine at Glasgow University, gaining a BSc degree in physiology in 1955 and his MB ChB in 1958.

He started his paediatric career as a house officer at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow. From 1959 to 1961 he served as a captain in the RAMC for his National Service. He then became a paediatric registrar in Lincoln, Leeds and the Queen Mother’s Hospital in Glasgow, before becoming a medical registrar in Leeds and York. From 1968 to 1969 he was a senior paediatric registrar in Stobhill Hospital Glasgow.

In October 1969 he was appointed to a consultant post at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, and Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Greenock. For the first four years of his consultant post he was single-handed. He initiated paediatric in-patient services in Greenock and developed outreach clinics in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. After consultant colleagues were appointed, a degree of specialisation was possible and he developed one of the early cystic fibrosis clinics.

During his career new hospitals were built in both Paisley and Greenock. His leadership contributed to the development of both units and their ethos of supporting and teaching junior medical and nursing staff. He was an active examiner for the diploma in child health, and for the membership examinations of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He introduced Paisley to hosting membership examinations and supported college activities in the UK and abroad.

His enthusiasm for teaching made Paisley a popular attachment for west of Scotland rotational trainees. He had a ready smile and a benevolent, compassionate nature. Away from work, his favourite place was either at his desk with his large collection of stamps or on holiday in France.

In 1959 he married Margaret Ann Sargeant. They had three children – David, Jonathan and Philippa.

Graham Stewart
Jonathan Coutts

(Volume XII, page web)

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