Obituary: Dr John Fry

John Fry, general practitioner: born 16 June 1922; FRCS 1947; Consultant to World Health Organisation 1965-83; Honorary Consultant in General Practice to the Army 1968-87; FRCGP 1967; OBE 1975, CBE 1988; FRSM 1989; married 1944 Joan Sabel (died 1989; one son, one daughter), 1989 Trudy Amiel (nee Scher; two stepdaughters); died Farnborough, Kent 28 April 1994.

JOHN FRY was his own man. He devoted his life to medicine and was a master of general practice. He made an immense contribution to the profession in Britain, spanning over 40 years.

Starting in practice before the National Health Service began, Fry witnessed the transformation of British general practice and documented many of the changes in his writings. He was concerned with the limitations of modern medical advances. Doctors, he said, still only 'cure sometimes, relieve often, comfort always and prevent hopefully'. He had a practical and down-to-earth approach to general practice; he used to say, 'Common diseases commonly occur, rare diseases rarely happen.'

The son of a general practitioner, Fry was educated at Whitgift Middle School, Croydon, and graduated from Guy's Hospital Medical School, London, in 1944. He started as a single-handed general practitioner in Beckenham in 1947 and retired from the same practice in 1991.

As well as being a doctor he was an accomplished researcher, author and teacher, and published extensively. He pioneered the description of common diseases by recording their content, natural history and outcome, in his own practice. In 1968 he helped set up the Journal of Postgraduate General Practice - Update and remained their consultant editor. He published over 50 books, of which the most popular, Common Diseases (1974), went into its fifth edition in 1993 and is a best-selling book in general practice.

Fry's first book was The Catarrhal Child (1961). His interest in international health-care comparisons is reflected in Medicine in Three Societies (1969) and Family Medicine: an international perspective (1983). More recently, he wrote three books on primary care systems covering 12 countries, with the latest, Primary Health Care in 12 Countries: some comparisons and lessons, due to be published this summer. He was particularly interested in facts relating to the British health-care system and wrote the NHS Data Book (1984); British Health Care - the facts is due to be published soon. Fry summarised the challenges facing those involved in providing and using health-care facilities as the 'science of the possible with the art of the impossible'.

Fry took a keen interest in teaching and for many years taught undergraduate and postgraduate students, both in Britain and abroad. He was a visiting professor at the universities of Oxford, Western Australia and California. More recently he became a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation.

John Fry was a founder member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and served on its Council for over 30 years. He was President of the Section of General Practice of the Royal Society of Medicine and was consultant in General Practice to the British Army for many years. He served on the General Medical Council for over 20 years and was a member of various committees of the Medical Research Council. He was a consultant to the World Health Organisation for nearly 30 years and a trustee of the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust from 1956.

He was awarded numerous prizes and lectures, including the Hunterian Gold Medal, the Sir Charles Hastings Prize, the Mackenzie Medal, the Guthrie Medal, the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Fellowship and the Foundation Council Award from the RCGP. Recently, 'The John Fry Trust Fellowship' was established for the giving of an annual lecture at the Royal College of Physicians on important aspects of general practice. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1989 and was recently awarded a fellowship by the Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

John Fry's first wife, Joan, died in 1989. One of his four grandchildren, Abigail, is a medical student at University College Hospital. His second marriage, to Trudy, extended his family to include, in his stepdaughter Stephanie, a Senior Lecturer in Metabolic Medicine at United Medical and Dental School at Guy's Hospital.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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 People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas