Lives of the fellows

Peter Howard Mackie

b.13 October 1947 d.3 September 2015
BM BCh Oxon(1972) MRCP(1978) MRCPath(1981) FRCPath(1993) FRCP(1995)

Peter Mackie was a consultant haematologist in east Berkshire for 30 years, retiring in 2012; the names of his employing organisation changed over the years, but Peter’s commitment to ongoing improvements for his patients and his department was unwavering throughout. He was approachable, likeable, dependable and a constant understated example of gentlemanly good-natured leadership throughout his consultant career. He was a trusted and steadfast leader of a happy department.

He was born in Oxford, the eldest of three siblings. His parents met at the university, where his father, Lawrence Percival Mackie, was a medical student who went into general practice. His mother, Elizabeth Bates Mackie, read biochemistry. His paternal grandfather Frederick Percival Mackie [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.566] had been one of the most distinguished medical scientists to serve in India during the days of the Empire.

Peter attended Cheltenham College, where he won a music scholarship and the Marcan music prize in 1962. He was awarded an open exhibition to Hertford College, Oxford, where he studied medicine between 1966 and 1970. He undertook his clinical studies at the Middlesex Hospital, qualifying in 1972. Following house physician and house surgeon posts at Harefield and Cheltenham hospitals, he progressed to general medical training at Bristol Royal Infirmary, where he was a senior house officer and a registrar, and an honorary tutor at the University of Bristol. He went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, as a research registrar until 1977, when he was appointed as a lecturer in the department of immunology at the University of Birmingham. He passed his MRCP in 1978. During his time as a clinical lecturer he worked in the nascent world of immunohaematology with Ian MacLennan and published a number of papers on the clinical utility of the C-reactive protein test. In 1979 he returned to Oxford as a senior registrar in haematology, passed the MRCPath in 1981 and was subsequently appointed as a consultant haematologist to the East Berkshire District in 1982.

As a consultant haematologist, Peter served his local hospital, his department and his patients with unswerving commitment; during an interregnum period before the appointment of a replacement consultant colleague in what was in 1998 a two-man department, he was on call one-in-one for almost six months, without any complaint. He held positions as chairman of the division of medicine (from 1989 to 1993), director of laboratory services (from 1992 to 1998), medical director (from 1999 to 2002) and ultimately director of cancer services from 2007. He was also an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians between 2002 and 2013. He joined the British Society for Haematology in 1978, and was the regional representative from 1991 to 1994 and from 1998 to 2001.

Despite his many commitments and busy schedule, medical, laboratory and nursing staff at all levels knew that they could approach him at any time with any problem and he would give them his time and well-considered advice. He was never known to be short-tempered.

His passions outside medicine were his family and music. He had first taken up bell ringing as a sixth-former, and quickly progressed to a high standard. He was elected to the prestigious Ancient Society of College Youths in 1970, and rang a total of 318 peals during his lifetime; 128 of these were during the three years of his retirement. He was tower captain at his local church, St Giles, Stoke Poges, from 2007 until his death, and was passionate about teaching new ringers – he was known for his infinite patience when teaching challenging mature learners! He had a fine singing voice, played the piano and organ to a very high standard, and had a remarkable ability to sight-read the most complex scores. He was president of the Windsor Medical Society between 2009 and 2010, and played the piano at many of their events, either as a soloist or in ensemble pieces. He regularly played chamber music with a group of medical friends, and they performed on several occasions at the Royal College of Physicians’ musical soiree evenings. He was also in demand as an organist for services and weddings at St Giles church and further afield.

He was survived by his wife Joanna and their four daughters, two of whom are also doctors, and three grandchildren. He was above all a family man and infinitely devoted to them. As his departmental consultant colleague from 1998 until his retirement, I count myself fortunate to have worked with and learned from such a good man.

Nicola Bienz

(Volume XII, page web)

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