Lives Remembered: Dr Robin Steel

My father Dr Robin Steel, a GP from Worcester who served for 15 years as a member of the General Medical Council and pioneered the postgraduate teaching of family doctors in the West Midlands, has died after a long and courageous battle against debilitating illness. He was 78.

During a medical career spanning 41 years, he treated thousands ofpatients in his own surgery andindirectly influenced the treatment of thousands more through the introduction of continuing professionaldevelopment for GPs. In 1969 heestablished the first vocational training scheme for family doctors in the West Midlands. This became the Regional GP Education Committee of the West Midlands in 1972 and later the Midlands Faculty for Postgraduate GP Education.

From 1984 to 1999, Robin served three terms on the GMC, becoming chairman of its Preliminary Proceedings Committee in 1992. He also sat for 10 years on the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners, becoming its vice-chairman for a term, and chairman of its Ethics Committee. He delivered the 1980 McKenzie Lecture and in 1994, the College honoured him with its Foundation Award.

For 18 years until 1986 he was also secretary and spokesman of the local Medical Committee in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, and for 23 years a member – and three times chairman – of the Worcestershire Division of the British Medical Association.

Born in Worcester on 13 September 1932, Robin Steel was the fourth-generation doctor in a family whose medical calling stretches back for more than 170 years. His daughter, a GP in Oxford, continues the tradition.

The son of Dr William Deane Steel, he went to Canford School in Dorset. In 1951, he entered University College, London where, as a medical student at University College Hospital hemet Kathleen Knott, a nurse from Yorkshire. They were married in 1957.

After qualifying in 1956, Robin completed his residencies, then began specialist training as a psychiatrist. In 1960 he joined the RAF for three years on a short service commission, serving briefly at RAF Halton near Aylesbury before being posted to Middle East Command as a neuropsychiatrist at the military hospital in Aden. He was in great demand as the only psychiatrist in that part of Arabia.

Steel left the RAF in 1963 with the rank of squadron leader and returned to Worcester to join his father in the practice of Galbraith, Steel, Martin and Galbraith. It was the beginning of 34 years as an intensely busy Worcester family doctor. During his long career, Steel was recognised as a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In 1987, he was awarded the MBE for services to medicine.

On retirement, he observed that it was "a great privilege to have been born in Worcester and to have lived, worked and had my family, all within a mile's radius." Sadly, cancer struck within months of his retiring, coupled later with a form of Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia, which he endured with immense courage and fortitude. He died peacefully at his home on 18 June 2011, finally able to complete the circle of his life in Worcester as he had wished. He leaves his wife Kathleen, three children and seven grandchildren.



If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, colleague or family member please send a piece of no more than 400 words by email to obituaries@independent.co.uk or by post to Obituaries, The Independent, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. We reserve the right to edit copy for length and style.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?