Lives of the fellows

Gwilym Penrose Hosking

b.31 August 1945 c.22 October 2006
MRCS LRCP(1969) MB BS Lond(1969) MRCP(1972) DCH(1972) FRCP(1990) DPM(1993) MFPM(1994) FFPM(1995) MAE(1996) FRCPCH(1997)

Gwilym Hosking was the clinical and managing director of Integrated Neurocare, an independent healthcare company set up to provide services for children with neurological and neurodevelopmental problems. Alongside his role at Integrated Neurocare, he was a consultant child and developmental neurologist at Portland Hospital, London, the Thornbury Hospital, Sheffield and at the Cromwell Hospital, London. He also held an honorary paediatric neurology position at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London.

Gwilym was born in Edgware, Middlesex, the son of William Henry Hosking, a company secretary, and Lily Phyllis Hosking née Gilbert, a road safety executive. He was educated at the Cathedral School, Truro and went on to Charing Cross Hospital Medical School to study medicine. He qualified in 1969 and held house and senior house officer posts at Charing Cross Hospital and Plymouth General Hospital. He moved to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool in 1972 to take up a registrar position in paediatrics and paediatric neurology.

In 1974, he transferred to the National Hospital, Queen Square, London, where he worked as a senior house officer in neurology, moving later that year to the Institute of Child Health, Hammersmith Hospital, where he held an academic position as a research fellow and senior registrar in paediatrics. At this time, he was also a tutor in child health at the Royal Postgraduate School. In 1976, Gwilym transferred to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, where he back-tracked to take a position initially as a registrar and later as a senior registrar in paediatric neurology.

In 1977, Gwilym was appointed as a consultant paediatric neurologist at the Ryegate Children’s Centre and Children’s Hospital, Sheffield and clinical lecturer in paediatrics (paediatric neurology), University of Sheffield. His primary duties in this position were to provide a sub-regional service for children with neurological disorders from Sheffield and the wider north Trent region. Services were also provided to the Yorkshire region, north Humberside and Wales. During his time at the Ryegate Children’s Centre, Gwilym also held a part time position at Leicester Royal Infirmary and honorary posts at York District General Hospital and Grimsby General Hospital.

Throughout his career, Gwilym was active in medical education, providing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on a national and an international basis. From 1983 to 1986 he was an external examiner in developmental paediatrics for the University of Leeds. He was also an examiner in neurology for the National Hospital’s college of speech and language therapy from 1988 to 1991.

Gwilym was an active contributor to a number of national and international organisations and committees, including the children’s initiative steering group of the national development team, Department of Health, from 1989 to 1990, the medical education and information unit, Spastics Society, from 1987 to 1990 and secretary to the Heinz fellowship committee of the British Paediatric Association from 1985 to 1992. Internationally, he was a member of the management committee of International Health Exchange, an executive adviser for the Caribbean Association for Mental Retardation and other Developmental Disabilities and vice chairman of the prevention committee of the International League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicap. He also published widely and had approximately 87 publications to his name.

Gwilym declared that he was attracted to paediatric neurology not least because of a desire to work within the framework of multi-professional team. During his consultant post at the Ryegate Children’s Centre in Sheffield he pioneered new models of care and travelled extensively to learn from and evaluate services for children with disabilities and to set up education programmes for colleagues.

In 1990 he took a surprising leave of absence from the world of paediatric neurology and joined the Wellcome Foundation as a senior medical adviser and subsequently a senior clinical research physician for the Foundation. He never completely left the clinical interface behind though and during this time he maintained a position as an honorary consultant paediatric neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. During his time at the Wellcome Foundation Gwilym was involved in the development of the anti-epileptic medication, lamotrigine. In 1993, he transferred within the Wellcome Foundation to become an international medical adviser to the international operations division, where his responsibilities lay with the Latin American division. During this time, he learnt Spanish, a language with which he was previously unfamiliar, to a sufficiently high level to be able to give talks and lectures.

In 1997, frustrated by the constraints of working within a large organisation and missing full-time clinical practice, Gwilym set up Integrated Neurocare. This was an independent, multi-professional healthcare company, based in central London, but with regular clinics in Sheffield and Dubai, to provide services for children with neurological and neurodevelopmental problems, from UK and abroad.

During his work at and for Integrated Neurocare, and to his death in 2006, Gwilym was increasingly interested in the links between both unrecognised, and therefore untreated, attention deficit disorders and unrecognised autism spectrum disorders and offending behaviour, as well as providing services to young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and disorders of attention and focus.

He was an active member of the independent monitoring board at HM Prison Wakefield, where his motivation was the experience of prisoners with atypical neurological development, such as attention deficit disorder and autism spectrum disorder. He also worked within the medico-legal arena in the field of personal injury, specialising in traumatic brain injury following accidental and non-accidental injury.

In his youth, Gwilym played rugby for Cornwall and was the Under-15 World Cornish Wrestling champion (although he did confess this was awarded out of a cohort of two!). In later life, he ran the London Marathon three times, each time to raise money for epilepsy charities. Throughout his life, he relocated many times, but was ultimately drawn to live in the landscape which he loved in the Peak District National Park of north Derbyshire, where he was planning to breed chickens in retirement and was an active participant in the local church and rural life.

Gwilym Hosking died suddenly as a result of a myocardial infarction whilst on holiday with his family in his home county of Cornwall. He was survived by his second wife, Suzie Mitchell, an educational psychologist, his five children and five grandchildren.

Suzie Mitchell

[BMJ 2007 334 161 www.bmj.com/content/334/7585/161.3 – accessed 19 June 2019]

(Volume XII, page web)

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