Nottingham Hospitals History


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1996 - 1997

Dr Thomas Leopold (Tom) Venables, a distinguished local general practitioner, broadcaster and medical teacher was President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society for the 1996/7 session.

He was educated at William Hulme's Grammar School Manchester. On leaving school he entered the Royal Air Force for National Service from 1956 to 1958 being commissioned as a Pilot Officer (Fighter Controller). After serving in the RAF he entered Downing College Cambridge (BA 1961, MA 1964), completing his clinical studies at the Westminster Hospital London and graduating MB BChir (Cantab) in 1964.

After qualification Tom was appointed to pre registration posts at his own teaching hospital. He then re-entered the RAF in its Medical Branch serving as a Flight Lieutenant from 1965 to 1970 as Senior Medical Officer, RAF Henlow and later as a Medical Specialist at the RAF Hospital, Ely. He became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1970.

Tom Venables joined the Calverton practice in 1970 and remained there throughout his professional life becoming Senior Partner in 1997. He was a clinical assistant in cardiology at the City Hospital from 1970, an organiser of Postgraduate Education for General Practitioners in Nottingham from 1974 to 1978 and a Lecturer in General Practice at the University of Nottingham from 1972 till 1997. He has published many articles on therapeutics and on the economics of drug prescribing.

After becoming a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1972 he served the College in various capacities over many years. He was heavily involved with the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners examination being an examiner, member of the Examination Executive and a member of the Board of Censors. He was elected Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1980, and his services to general practice and medical education were recognised by his election to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians - an unusual and well-deserved honour.

Tom's voice became familiar to local and national listeners in the 1980s and 90s when he was "radio doctor" and a member of the BBC Radio Nottingham Team. His broadcasting led to several awards including the Smith Kline Gold Award for Medical Journalism, a Sony Award (Bronze) for Radio and the British Association of Insurers Silver Medal for Services to the Community. He received the Society’s President’s Prize in 1993  

Like many Presidents Tom Venables had, in earlier years been Secretary to the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. As a Member of the Society he had been awarded a Travelling Fellowship by the Society to go to China to study medicine and the art of acupuncture. This led to an unusual distinction in 1986 - the Diploma in Acupuncture of Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Tom Venables has been and remains one of the more familiar figures on the Nottingham medical scene. An academic interest in the history of medicine led him into several societies including the Wellcome Trust, the John Snow Society and the Osler Club. Osler was in fact the subject for his memorable and carefully researched Presidential Lecture.