Nottingham Hospitals History

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STANLEY JAMES HARRIS

  President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1980-1981

Stanley Harris, President of the Society in 1980/81, was for 42 years a single handed General Practitioner in the NHS and still continues to practice as enthusiastically as ever. And what is more he is said to continue to enjoy it!


Stanley Harris was born in London and educated at St Clement Dane's School. He entered Guy's Hospital Medical School at the age of 16 and qualified MB BS in 1947. After completing his pre-registration jobs he joined the RAF for his National Service where he served mainly on an operational flying station but also looked after a small service hospital, an occupational works area and families of Service personnel. This experience was to serve him well in his subsequent career in General Practice.


He left the RAF in 1950, during the harsh austerity years of post-war Britain, and became a Trainee Assistant in Stratford-on-Avon. His principal there, Dr Archibald McWhinney was an excellent doctor and teacher and this appointment was, in essence, the pattern of the modern vocational training. Incidentally Archibald McWhinney's brother was Robert McWhinney who became well known as a medical practitioner in Wollaton. Whilst there Stanley Harris was involved in the care of patients in an epidemic of infective hepatitis (Hepatitis A); despite taking the usually recommended precautions he caught the disease himself! He also looked after the actors at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and, with his friend, the local vet, attended horse race meetings where the horses seemed to be much more important (and valuable) than the local celebrities and punters. In the 1950s opportunities for new practices were few and far between but after a second assistantship in Accrington, he applied for and was successful in being appointed to a single-handed practice vacancy in Nottingham. This was to be his mode of practice for the rest of his professional life.


An enthusiasm and interest in industrial medicine led to Stanley Harris being appointed Factory Doctor in Nottingham and Medical Advisor to Raleigh Industries, to Birds Food products and to various other manufacturing companies. He also became Medical Officer to the Nottingham General Dispensary in Broad Street, from 1954 dealing with rheumatology and physiotherapy. When that institution closed in the 1990s he continued as Trustee to the Charity. Interestingly, in its early days, the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society used to meet at these premises at Broad Street before moving to 64 St James' Street.


With his two children becoming keen swimmers he took a technical interest in Sports Medicine becoming Medical Officer to the Nottinghamshire Amateur Swimming Association and the Midland ASA. He also dealt with the British team when it trained at Loughborough.


The 70s, 80s and 90s were to prove times of medico-political reorganisation and evolution during which time Stanley Harris undertook an increasing burden of administrative duties. He was elected to the BMA Local Medical Committee in the 70s, became a member of the Nottinghamshire Family Practitioners Committee (renamed the FHSA) and was a member of the Practice Vacancy Committee and other associated committees, serving his colleagues until he retired. He was Chairman of the Professional Advisory Committee, which directed and monitored the activities of the Deputising Services in the City and County and which set out the framework and principles for the current out of hours work, though he rarely used the service himself. On retirement from the NHS he was appointed to the Appeals Authority of the Dept of Health.


A member of the BMA since qualifying Stanley Harris became Chairman of the Nottingham Division in 1981 and again in 1998. During his first Chairmanship he attended the BMA Meeting in San Diego where he addressed the students of the University of Los Angeles on the subject of General Practice in the UK.


He became a Member of the Medico/Chirurgical Society shortly after arriving in Nottingham and served the Society loyally for many years. He was librarian for 4 years and secretary for 4 years being involved then in the negotiations for the move of the Society from St James Street to the Postgraduate Centre at the City Hospital in 1972. He was elected a life member of the Society in 1993.


A senior, well known and respected figure in the local medical establishment Stanley Harris enjoys in his spare time photography, jazz, gardening and reading (until 2am)!




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