Doctor Tony Smith: Medical writer best known for the 'Family Health Guide'

Tony Smith was a medical journalist who wrote for The Independent and other papers as well as writing many medical books for lay readers. He was probably best known for writing the Family Health Guide, published by Dorling Kindersley. He oversaw many new additions of the Guide and was intent on keeping it accurate and up to date. Smith also wrote a number of "Family Doctor" books for the British Medical Association; his book on adolescence was particularly popular. Explaining medicine to the public did much to further, and sometimes initiate, the movement towards self-help and patients' participation in their treatment.

Smith was born in Coventry in 1934. Both his parents worked in car plants and both were committed Labour supporters; his father was a shop steward. Although his father had left school very early in order to contribute financially to the family he was widely read, (The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was on his bookshelf), and determined that his sons should be well educated. Both sons went to Bablake Grammar School although it involved some financial difficulty. When he was 17 Smith won an open scholarship to Oxford where he first read law and then changed to medicine; he completed his clinical studies at the London Hospital (now The Royal London), and qualified in 1959.

Smith was never entirely happy as a practising doctor and soon started as assistant editor of the British Medical Journal, where he felt he had found what he wanted to do. He gradually expanded his writing – he was a restless man, always seeking new challenges, so writing for different publications suited him well. He was also a political man and well aware that he had been able to change his fortunes by his hard work but also by means of the welfare state; he was strongly opposed to the introduction of student fees and the curtailment of grants.

Smith was also a restless traveller; he hated sitting on beaches, and although living in Camden Town he bought a long-chassis Land Rover and took his wife and three children on camping holidays all over Europe. But possibly his favourite indulgence was food and drink; he seized any opportunity to take people out to long lunches; on at least one occasion he was in trouble with the BMJ editor for having spent journal money on too much, too expensive wine.

His other great love was boats, an interest that may have started when he was evacuated after the Coventry raids and went to stay with foster parents in Warwickshire. His foster father worked with canal boats, which much impressed Smith. There were many sailing holidays in hired boats and in the mid-1980s he bought his own, much-loved boat, "Emily", which he sailed around the south coast of Norway.

In 2000 it became clear that he was developing Parkinson's disease. He refused to let it interfere with his life although he knew well what the progress of the disease meant. He was living with his long-time Norwegian partner Inge and insisted on flying back and forth between Norway and London, as he had been doing for many years. In 2007 it became apparent that he needed nursing care and he moved to a nursing home in Woodbridge, Suffolk where he felt safe and well looked after. He still took visitors out to lunch and held interesting conversations in spite of his tiredness and occasional confusion.

True to form, he decided to go for a walk by himself in June 2008 despite having been asked to wait for some company. He did not return and there was an extensive search by family, friends, the police and search-and-rescue experts. His body was not found until 1 March. He had got into some private woodland overlooking the river, and had probably sat down to rest.

Evelyn Adey

Anthony Smith, doctor, medical writer and journalist: born 4 December 1934; married 1958 Evelyn Adey (one son, two daughters): died c 5 June 2008.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities