Lives of the fellows

Robert (Sir) Kilpatrick

b.29 July 1926 d.16 September 2015
CBE(1979) Kt(1986) MB ChB Edin(1949) MRCP Edin(1953) MD(1961) FRCP Edin(1964) MRCP(1969) FRCP(1975) Hon DUniv(1987) FRCP Glasgow(1991) Hon LLD Dundee(1992) Hon DSc Hull(1994) Hon DSc Leicester(1994) Hon FRCPath(1994) Hon LLD Sheffield(1995) Hon FRCS(1995) Hon FRCPI(1995) Hon FRCS Edin(1996) FRSE(1998)

Lord Robert Kilpatrick was dean and professor of medicine at the University of Leicester Medical School, and a former president of the General Medical Council (GMC) and the British Medical Association (BMA). He was born in Wemyss, Fife, Scotland, the only child of Robert Kilpatrick, a mine worker. As a teenager, he contracted tuberculosis and spent months in hospital. He was educated at Buckhaven High School and then studied medicine at Edinburgh University, qualifying in 1949 with the Leslie gold medal.

He was a medical registrar in Edinburgh from 1951 to 1954 and then a lecturer at the University of Sheffield from 1955 to 1966. During this period, he held a Rockefeller travelling fellowship at Harvard, where he conducted research on the pituitary gland. From 1966 to 1970 he was professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics at Sheffield. He was then dean of the faculty of medicine until 1973.

From 1975 to 1989 he was dean of Leicester University Medical School, and also professor and head of the department of pharmacology and therapeutics from 1975 to 1983, and professor of medicine for five years from 1984.

He was president of the GMC for six years from 1989, during which time he was involved in the development of Good medical practice, the core ethical guidance the GMC provides to doctors, and the Performance procedures, which allow assessment of a doctor’s professional performance. He was president of the BMA from 1997 to 1998.

Having been awarded a CBE in 1979 and a knighthood in 1986, he was made a life peer in 1996. He spoke in many debates on health topics, particularly against enthanasia.

He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth (née Forbes), whom he married in 1950, and their children – Neil, Kate and John.

RCP editor

[The Scotsman 31 October 2015 – accessed 5 November 2017; BMJ 2015 351 5727 – accessed 5 November 2017; University of Leicester Lord Kilpatrick of Kincraig – accessed 5 November 2017]

(Volume XII, page web)

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