Obituary: Professor James Scott

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The Independent Online
James Scott will primarily be remembered as the Regional Medical Officer for the Trent Regional Health Authority from 1973 to 1988. However, behind this, there is an outstanding contribution to health care and medical education, primarily in the East Midlands.

Scott was born in 1931 and received his medical education at Trinity College, Dublin, qualifying in 1955. House Officer posts in Doncaster and York followed, then further experience as pathologist in Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, Dublin (1957-59) and Registrar in Chemical Pathology to the United Sheffield Hospital (1959-61). During this time he wrote his doctoral thesis on the melanin in urine of patients with malignant melanoma and this was awarded MD in 1965.

In 1961 Scott became a trainee medical officer with the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board, and progressed to become Assistant and Principal Assistant Medical Officer.

In 1965 the Royal Commission on Medical Education (the Todd Committee), in an interim report, recommended that two new medical schools should be created to increase the supply of doctors to care for the population. They were to be the first medical faculties founded this century and were to be placed within the universities of Nottingham and Southampton.

Scott thus joined in 1965 the planning team which was to create Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. He joined David Greenfield, the foundation Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Robert Graham, the University Assistant Registrar and John Dann, the Planning Officer. This group shaped and formed the integrated medical centre dedicated to patient care, teaching and research, such that the distinction between health service and university should be invisible. Scott was thus highly instrumental in creating Queen's Medical Centre and shaping the way it works.

It is easy to criticise any large building as being vast and unwieldy. However, Queen's Medical Centre does function as an integrated centre and this is a great credit to the initial planners and the architects. Scott served on the Board of Medical Studies which was the forerunner of the Faculty Board and was involved in the development of the new undergraduate curriculum. He also became a Senior Lecturer in the University Department of Community Medicine under the enthusiastic leadership of the foundation Professor, Maurice Backett.

In 1971, Scott was appointed as Senior Administrative Medical Officer to the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board, which in 1973 transformed itself into the Trent Regional Health Authority. He remained there as Regional Medical Officer until retirement in 1988. This post allowed him to oversee and continue to contribute to the development of the Nottingham Hospitals and the University Medical Faculty which produced its first graduate in 1975.

While he was at Trent, Leicester University founded its medical school, which produced the first graduates in 1980. The creation, successful development and establishment of two new medical schools with associated hospital and health services facilities, in 15 years, in the southern half of the Trent Region, a unique achievement in which Scott played a pivotal role.

As Regional Medical Officer, Scott was a member and President of the Hospital Committee of the European Economic Union from 1980 to 1988, the first Briton to hold the post. The hospital committee comprised four health service delegates from each of the then nine Common Market countries. Its objective was to promote a uniformly high standard of hospital care and to foster efficiency, effectiveness and humanity in the organisation and running of hospital services.

On retiring as the Regional Medical Officer Scott became a Professor of Health Service Planning in the Department of Community Medicine in Sheffield University. He maintained his educational interests and was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Mid-Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery from 1989 until the time of its incorporation into the Faculty of Medicine and Life Science of Nottingham University.

Jim Scott enjoyed the Dordogne and had a property there which he carefully cared for and renovated. Philately was his hobby, and on the day of release of new issue stamps, he would be seen making his way to a post office to enhance his collection. He did not enjoy good health and for over half his life, was afflicted with chest disease. In spite of this, there was a determination to succeed and an ability to overcome this adversity.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, the Director of Nursing Services at Crumpsall Hospital in Manchester.

James Alexander Scott, medical administrator: born 3 July 1931; Pathologist, Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, Dublin 1957-59; Registrar in Clinical Pathology, United Sheffield Hospitals 1959-61; Trainee, later Assistant and Principal Assistant Senior Medical Officer, Sheffield Regional Hospital Board 1961- 70, Senior Administrative Medical Officer 1971-73; Senior Lecturer in Community Medicine, Nottingham University 1967-71, Special Professor of Health Care Planning 1974-97; Regional Medical Officer, Trent Regional Health Authority 1973-88; FRCP 1985; CBE 1986; Professor Associate in Health Service Planning, Sheffield University 1988-97; married 1957 Margaret Slinger (one son, two daughters); died Sheffield 7 May 1997.