Updated 8 Sept 2016

A History of Portsmouth Hospitals - Anaesthetic Department.

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A History of Portsmouth Hospitals
- Anaesthetic Department.

by Dr Robert J. Palmer MB, BS, DRCOG, FRCA.

    The following is a brief history of the anaesthetic department at Portsmouth. Unfortunately records of the origins and development of the department have not been kept. Therefore I have largely had to rely on the memories of retired members of the anaesthetic department, medical and secretarial, and also doctors from outside the department and theatre and nursing staff, both still working and retired. On completion I am intending to circulate this to as many as possible so they can proof read it so to speak and inform me of errors I have made or inappropriate statements before it is finalised and put on the departmental web page and forwarded for publication. I can be contacted at:
    or 0788-993-7799.

    I was first approached about writing a history of the anaesthetic department at the Portsmouth Hospitals by the then clinical director of the department Matthew Wood. Although interested I declined as I had too busy a clinical work load at the time to do justice to the project. I was asked again by the anaesthetic museum curator Sharon Holland in late 2011. Being then part time and a lot less busy I jumped at the chance before it was offered to somebody else. It has always surprised me that it has not been done before. I began with interviewing retired members of the department, mainly anaesthetists but also members of the nursing staff and ODP’s. The first person I interviewed was Donald MacDougall as I knew I would receive a friendly reception. As time passed I became a little bolder. I have heard some great stories which being of an inquisitive nature has been enjoyable. Some are not so wholesome and for obvious reasons I can’t include them in this dissertation. I envisage the process will take some 2 years. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Dr Robert Palmer


1. Forward.
2. Index.
3. About the author.
4. HISTORY of the Department
5. The hospitals.
6. The early years 1948 to 1970.
7. Phyllis’s time 1970 to 1990.
8. Elisabeth’s era 1990 to today.
9. Album of photos and documents
10.Opening of the Museum
11. Emails
12. Text

Crawford, Selwyn J
Lee, Alfred J
Watt-Smith, J

The Royal
The Royal Hospital Haslar
St Mary’s Hospital, Milton
Queen Alexandra Hospital
Gosport War Memorial Hospital
Coldeast Hospital
St James Hospital
Portsmouth Eye & Ear Hospital



    There have been four main hospitals in Portsmouth.

    The Royal
    The Royal Hospital in 1849
    The Royal pub
    The Royal Portsmouth Hospital was sited in Commercial Road Portsmouth and was founded in 1849. The hospital once had a “Lock Ward” for the confinement of ladies of ill repute under the Contagious Diseases Act of 1863. It was closed in 1979.

    By 1975 operating at The Royal had rationalised to general surgery and orthopaedics. It also had the accident and emergency department and initially a 4 bedded resuscitation unit for trauma cases later developing into the first intensive care unit in Portsmouth. Louise Bird the wife of former Medical Director Alex Bird has a video of its last day of operation. The hospital was demolished and the site developed by Sainsbury’s. The public house opposite was renamed "The Royal"

    The Royal Hospital Haslar.
    Royal Hospital Haslar
    Haslar Royal Navy Hospital, circa 1842
    It was situated in Gosport and opened as a Royal Navy hospital in 1753. The phrase "Up the Creek without a paddle" is a naval expression which originated from Haslar Creek and meant you were injured in battle during Napoleonic times and sent home for medical attention at Haslar, where you could be kept indefinately. It had a long and distinguished record in the care of service personnel both in peacetime and in war and also particularly more recently in the care of the local population. Latterly from 2000 to 2009 medical and nursing staff from Portsmouth NHS trust also worked at Haslar. Eric Birkbeck who was in the anaesthetic department at Haslar has written extensively on the history of Haslar. It was a fine hospital with a military culture of cleanliness, a beautiful setting, fine listed buildings, ample parking space, and after cessation of acute medical intake no long term stay patients, therefore no problems with finding a bed for elective surgical patients. Its military status was withdrawn in 2007 and in the face of considerable local opposition and controversy and not a little sadness it was closed in 2009.

    St Mary’s Hospital, Milton.
    St Mary’s Hospital, Milton
    See document #1. It began as an infirmary in 1898. It played an important role during the Second World War. After the war it needed a rebuild and expanded. The twin operating theatres were opened in 1954.

    Three Honeywell theatres for general surgery, chest surgery, urology and renal were opened in the mid 1960's. All were replaced by the new block of theatres above a new imaging department opened by John Major in 1990. There was also an Intensive Care Unit opened which Bruce Taylor was appointed to run. This subsequently amalgamated with the Intensive Care Unit at QA which had opened after the closing of The Royal in 1979.

    Subsequently further theatres, the fine maternity block, and the paediatric building were opened. Operating theatres at St Mary’s were friendly and efficient. In 2009 the acute services were closed and moved to the new PFI build at QA hospital. St Mary’s is now a community hospital. The paediatric building houses the community hospital and the maternity block remains. Much of the remainder of the hospital including the theatre complex, anaesthetic department and wards have been razed for a housing development, though the Education Centre remains and can be accessed via Rodney Road. The rest of the hospital on the other side of Milton road which used to house the renal unit, which included ventilated patients, has been turned into a school and housing development.

    Queen Alexandra Hospital.
    Queen Alexandra Hospital
    See document #2. It was originally a military hospital and built between 1904 and 1908 to replace an earlier hospital which stood in Lion Street in Portsea. The demilitarisation of the hospital began in 1926 when it was handed to the Ministry of Pensions to care for disabled ex servicemen. The Second World War saw the first civilian patients admitted. Following the creation of The National Health Service in 1948 the majority of its beds were transferred to its auspices by 1951. In the 1960’s it became a District General Hospital. Princess Alexandra officially opened the new hospital in 1980 (see photo with Dr Larson) and the accident and emergency department was opened at QA. Patients were transferred from the Royal in March 1979. A new private finance initiative extension-cum-rebuild at QA by Carillion was signed for in 2005 and completed on time in the summer of 2009 with the opening on 15th June 2009. Patients were transferred from Haslar and St Mary’s into spacious modern wards including the maternity and paediatric unit, and new operating theatres. We now have the advantage of all services (except dermatology which is still at the time of writing at St Mary’s) on one site, though there is sadness inevitably at the closure of Haslar and St Mary’s. We also are experiencing the difficulties associated with the high number of long term patients in QA (over 80%, which is very high for the UK) and the degree of illness in patients presenting to the A and E department (again very high in comparison with other hospitals in the UK and meaning many need to be admitted), resulting in a reduction in the number of beds available for routine activity and impacting adversely on surgical activity and funding. Together with the crippling debt owed to Carillion this is seriously undermining the prospects of obtaining foundation status.

    Other hospitals.
    Anaesthetic services have also been provided by the department at several other hospitals over the years.
    Gosport War Memorial Hospital
    Coldeast Hospital, Sarisbury

  • The Gosport War Memorial Hospital where GP anaesthetists seconded to the department have worked along with other members of the department until the mid 1990's.
  • Coldeast Hospital where there has been a handicapped dental clinic and ECT sessions.
    St James Hospital
    Portsmouth & S. Counties Eye & Ear Hospital
  • St James Hospital where there have been ECT sessions.
  • The Portsmouth and Southern Counties Eye and Ear Hospital in Grove Road North (in an old convent), which closed in 1971.

    Part 1 THE EARLY YEARS 1948 TO 1970.

    The earliest information I have about the department is a letter from Dr Philip Bromage
    411. Philip Bromage letter
    412. Philip Bromage

    See document S03 where he describes a busy practice in late 1940’s and early 1950’s when he lived in Southbourne and he and Dr Brian Sandiford had a hectic practice extending from Worthing to Midhurst and Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight doing a lot of mileage with a portable Boyle’s machine and cylinders in the boot of their car for nursing home and domiciliary surgery. Philip Bromage (see also photo) was one of the the fathers of epidural anaesthesia which he learned from Massey Dawkins in London. I believe he performed the first obstetric epidural in the UK in Chichester. In the mid 1950’s he left to become professor and chairman at McGill University Montreal. In December 1976 I sat my US exam with Dr Bromage in Burlington, Vermont and despite having to relearn all his basic sciences at 56 he passed. He subsequently worked in Denver, Delaware and Saudi Arabia and was living in northern Vermont.

    The aforementioned Dr Brian Sandiford was a consultant anaesthetist at Portsmouth. See photo S05 which may be of him. He, with Jim Hamer-Hodges, looked after the iron lungs at St Mary’s during the polio epidemic, which were on the site of the subsequent renal unit. He retired in 1965 and I believe died in 1974.

    From David Steward received 06jul2014

    Hello Robert,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your history of the anaesthetic dept in Portsmouth. I was struck by how many of the very significant players in the specialty had connections the department. I served as a house surgeon at the Royal Portmouth Hospital in 1959 with Mr Tom Fenwick and Mr Paul Murray. Brian Sandiford always looked after Tom Fenwick's lists. Brian had a limp and was very much into tinkering with anaesthesia ventilators, which were then in their infancy (and perhaps developing prototypes - possibly there was even a "Sandiford ventilator"?? ) .

    He never got into trouble but on occasion things seemed to come apart a bit. I remember that once he had quite a bad fall in the theatre and there was concern as to whether he was hurt. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of Mr Murray's regular anaesthetist but do not recognise it on your list - the only thing I remember about him was that he had a Rolls Royce! When later I went to North America and took up anaesthesia I became quite friendly with Phil Bromage and visited two of his departments as visiting Prof. He talked enthusiastically of his days in Portsmouth with an anaesthetic machine in his car boot. (On one junket giving lectures on a cruise he and I won first prize in a fancy dress competition).

    Really enjoyed your history of the dept - thank you for doing this,
    David Steward.

    From Colin Olford received 28dec2014

    I had occasion to be Googling the "Royal" earlier this week & happened upon your history of the Anaesthetic Department & I thought you may, or on the other hand may not (!) be interested in my contacts with Dr Sandiford in my youth, & also some gossip & idle chat about the "Royal" in '64/'65. I'm pretty sure we have never met but I'm Portsmouth born & bred, & after PGS went to the "Middlesex" qualifying in 1964 & after a five year flirtation with the RN returned & was a GP in Pompey until I retired in 2003. At times early in my career I worked in all three of the local hospitals & look back on my times serving in them with not only affection but also gratitude.

    In 1964 my first pre-reg job was at the Royal as HS to Tom Fenwick & Paul Murray followed by a brief locum for Tom & Mr Wiggins-Davies at the old QA. I then was a House Physician at Haslar prior to registration but worked for dear Mike Kettle at SMMH as a HS after my time in the RN in order to take my D Obst.

    I first met Dr Sandiford when I was 16. David Steward refers to his "limp". In fact he had a left hemiplegia with spasticity of both upper & lower limbs & I think was in trouble with his back quite a lot. He certainly at times found his disability frustrating. I gather from Janet that he was treated with "Gold for arthritis" during or just after WW2 & suffered some adverse reaction giving rise to his problems. By the way Paul Murray's regular anaesthetist in 1964 was Dr Merlin. I don't remember his car but as Brian Sandiford had a Rolls Royce perhaps there is some confusion or all doctors were far from poor!

    I believe Dr Sandiford was a GP initially in Feltham but moving later to Emsworth which must have been the time he was working with Dr Bromage. By the time I met him he was a Consultant working in the Portsmouth Group & lived at 55 Clarence Parade. He had also previously owned a Nursing Home in Lennox Road South which had been run by his wife's sister who in common with Mrs Sandiford was an SRN.

    My main reason for starting all this was from my own observations to amplify his great enthusiasm & interest & care for paralysed polio patients. Prior to the rise of the Renal Unit SMH East Wing was the "Infectious Diseases Hospital" & there was at least one ward catering for "Iron Lung" patients in the 50's. Dr Sandiford spent a fair bit of his time on their welfare & was particularly keen on getting them home to suitably modified domestic arrangements. He taught me the technique of "Frog breathing" which could be used short term by compromised patients if there was a power cut or some other problem with their ventilators, & as a 16 year old I visited the unit & was introduced to spirometers & lung function tests & on one occasion we drove out into the sticks somewhere to see a young chap who he'd got home to a reasonably independent life away from institutions.

    By the time I started at the Royal he was not working with Tom Fenwick (who would have been the surgeon who Margaret Cox remembers throwing instruments around) & I must confess I cannot recall who anaesthetised for Tom's lists except that it was a full time anaesthetist & things always ran smoothly. As mentioned Dr Merlin always worked with EEPM. The other two general surgeons were JDY "Judy" Younghusband & Bernard Williams. The "Fenwick" on-take was on a Tuesday & that was the afternoon that JDY had his elective list. He was a meticulous dissector & would spend hours for instance removing much of the GIT from the pharynx distally for Ca oesophagos before anastamosing disparate distant cut ends whilst I nervously sat on the day's emergencies (with my registrar at QA) awaiting access to theatre. He always worked with I think Don Argent who would quietly read during the procedure. However JDY liked to chatter & on one such occasion enquired of the patient's age which attracted the reply "He was 56 when we started"......

    I have other yarns about the Royal but largely surrounding some of the characters who were consultants in other specialties. However I remember Chris Linton well & June Shanks who was a kind, helpfull & generally lovely colleague.

    I'm still in touch with Tony Higgins who worked in the orthopaedic team & the old A&E for several years. He subsequently worked in Jersey for many years & resists any use of computers. I'm due to call him some time soon & will pick his brains and/or put him in touch if appropriate.

    Reading your history of your department stirred many memories particularly of the Royal which was a community hospital in the true sense of the word. Many of the patients I dealt with then & in my early days in practice had never been north of Portsbridge. The hospital community itself was small & we all knew each other & pulled together. The new QA has all the bells & whistles but no soul!

    Kind regards
    Colin Olford

    Dr Brian Sandiford
    From Janet Williams received 29dec2014

    Dear Dr. Palmer,

    I was very interested to read some of your account of the Royal and the history of the anaesthesia department; I have a lot more to go. Seeing many familiar names stirred up old memories. My father frequently would bring another doctor home for a drink at the end of the day, and "shop" talk dominated the conversation. My parents entertained at regular intervals and colleagues and spouses were often part of the group. My father took me to the Bromage's house many times where I rode their donkey while father visited. I was also remembering touring the Royal, and other hospitals where my father worked, on Christmas morning. I remember the surgeons all dressed up carving turkey in the wards, and beating hasty retreats to avoid running into the Lord Mayor's party.

    My father died December 19, 1974. A postmortem showed he had liver disease, believed to have been caused by the early anaesthetic gases. After my mother died in 1994, my sister and I found newspaper tributes to my father after he died. I have no idea where any of that stuff is, but I presume I brought home some of it. I will see what I can find that might be of interest to you. Please let me know if there are any other details you would like to know.

    Good luck with your project -

    Janet Williams
    Searsport, Maine

    Dr Colin Birt, was an anaesthetic SHO in the department from 1961-62. He subsequently became a consultant in Southend, and helped Bob Young in establishing the obstetric epidural service in Portsmouth (Bob Young served an attachment in Southend in 1974). Colin remembers how helpful Jim Hamer-Hodges was when he had problem cases out of hours.
    412cb Colin BIRT

    Margaret Cox was a theatre sister at QA between 1953 and 1961, when she became assistant matron. Miss Delacourt was matron from 1950 to 1966 and lived in Delacourt House which is named after her. Margaret remembers the anaesthetists in 1953, Dr MacDonald, Harry Lee, Brian Sandiford, Phillip Bromage, Kenneth Ross, Hugh Boyd, Paul Merlin, Jim Hamer Hodges. At that time the NHS was sharing QA with the military. Some of the surgeons would throw instruments and the champion was Thomas Kenwick, a general surgeon. She also remembers Walter Wiggins Davies, a urologist, who liked the windows to be open and played jazz music while he was operating.

    Dr “Jim” Hamer-Hodges
    414. Jim Hamer-Hodges

    was a very important figure in the history of the anaesthetic department at Portsmouth and is deserving of a chapter to himself.
    415. Jim Hamer-Hodges (obituary)

    See S05 his obituary in the BMJ and refer to text for document by Colin Birt an extensively researched document by Dr Colin Birt, Consultant Anaesthetist in Southend and who trained under Dr Hamer-Hodges in Portsmouth. Dr Birt presented this document to the History of Anaesthesia society in 1988. See photo S09. See Colin Birt's resume in documents S41 to S45. Also I have a video of Dr Hamer-Hodges anaesthetising children probably in the mid to late 1950’s and a video of his technique for GA Caesarean Section. He was a trainee in Portsmouth from about 1950, and a Consultant from about 1953 until he died aged 42 in 1961 during the South Western Obstetric and Gynaecological Society meeting in Portsmouth. His landmark paper “general anaesthesia for operative obstetrics” appeared in the British Journal of Anaesthesia in 1959, and was revolutionary. In it he describes the head up, thiopentone, succinylcholine, intubation, oxygen, nitrous oxide technique for Caesarean Section. In 1961 Sellick added cricoid pressure, and with minor modifications this technique survives to today for GA for Caesarean Section. At the time facemask anaesthesia was the benchmark. He also was interested in neonatal resuscitation. At this time paediatricians did not come into theatre and it was the responsibility of the anaesthetist to resuscitate the newborn if necessary. Between 1950 and 1955 he gave virtually all the general anaesthetics for operative obstetrics in Portsmouth. His son is a retired colorectal surgeon living in Edinburgh. Jim Hamer-Hodges trained at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and fell foul of the dean Charles Wilson (Lord Moran, Churchill’s physician) for taking players in his beloved rugby side out on runs with the medical school hare and hounds club. Hamer-Hodges encouraged his juniors to participate in his obstetric anaesthesia research and he ignited their interest in obstetrical anaesthesia.

    Dr Jeffrey Selwyn Crawford
    417. Jeffrey Selwyn Crawford

    (See S10 and S11) was a trainee in Portsmouth in 1957 and worked under Jim Hamer-Hodges. This subsequently became his abiding interest and he developed the anaesthetic services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and was internationally renowned in the field of obstetric anaesthesia. He repopularized spinal anaesthesia after its long period in the doldrums in the UK following the Wooley and Roe case. He died aged 66 two weeks after his retirement. Both he and Jim Hamer-Hodges were heavy smokers.
    418. Jeffrey Selwyn Crawford (obituary)

    Dr Michael Tunstall
    419. Michael Tunstall (obituary)

    (See S12) was a registrar in Portsmouth in the late 1950’s and he returned later for the first part of his senior registrar rotation with Oxford. Again he was inspired by Jim Hamer-Hodges and while at Portsmouth he showed that oxygen and nitrous oxide could be mixed in one cylinder (entonox) which previously had involved using 4 cylinders (liquid and gaseous oxygen and nitrous oxide) and persuaded the British Oxygen Company to produce the new cylinder which despite initial reservations they were able to do. Dr Tunstall was the first to use entonox clinically at The Royal. He also produced a video of awareness during general anaesthesia for Caesarean Section which I have a copy of. He became Consultant Anaesthetist in Aberdeen and died in 2011. As we enter the 1960’s the Anaesthetists at Portsmouth were as follows.

    Dr Hugh Boyd, who had been a GP and was a Senior Hospital Medical Officer (SHMO) and probably subsequently a consultant was an afficianado of succinylcholine infusions as were many anaesthetists of his time. I believe he was chairman of the department for a while and that he retired in about 1974. The aforementioned Dr Jim Hamer-Hodges and Dr Brian Sandiford.

    Dr Kenneth (Daddy) Ross
    who had also been a GP and was a SHMO, and also probably subsequently a consultant. He was popular with the nursing staff. He was for some time the head anaesthetist and was succeeded by Don Argent. He suffered ill health towards the end of his career and retired in 1971.

    Dr Paul Merlin
    who had been an SHO in the department and also a GP and who was a SHMO.

    Dr Mike Glossop
    was an anaesthetist in the department and described a cuffed tracheostomy tube (the "Glossop tube") which was the subject of a publication in The Lancet in 1966.

    Dr Peter McDonnagh who lived at 37 Bowes Hill in Rowlands Castle and who’s wife Jill McDonnagh was the doctor in charge of the Casualty Department at The Royal. subsequently moving to QA in 1979. His son was at medical school (St Thomas’s) with Kathy Torlot. Sadly Dr McDonnagh died in 1966 at a relatively young age.

    Dr Don Argent, who succeeded Kenneth Ross as chairman of the department and subsequently in 1970 became Medical Executive Committee chairman with his own secretary. He was also Regional Director of Postgraduate Studies for Wessex. He had qualified from Middlesex Hospital in 1947. He retired in 1975 at 65 and died in 1981. (See S14).
    421. Don Argent (obituary)

    There was a practice at the time (early 1960’s) which is vividly recalled by Jane Spendlove, formerly head theatre nurse in the happy and functional St Mary’s theatres, and who started at St Mary’s in 1962 when she was 18. It entailed anaesthetising private patients in the private wing at St Mary’s in their beds with thiopentone and succinylcholine and intubating them with red rubber tubes with metal connectors, then rushing them to the nearby theatre ventilating them on room air with an Ambu bag. These were the days before recovery rooms and patients would be taken back to the ward sometimes with a Guedel airway in place and hopefully a chin lift or jaw thrust if necessary. If there was a cardiac arrest on the wards at St Mary’s an anaesthetist was found and along with a Boyle’s machine, laryngoscope, and again a red rubber endotracheal tube and metal connector rushed to the patient in need.


    Dr Chris Linton
    423. Chris Linton
    was appointed Consultant Anaesthetist in 1962 (see S15 and photo P00). He had been a senior registrar in Norwich. Despite it taking 10 attempts to pass his primary fellowship he emphasises that he passed his finals at the first attempt. In 1968 he took a one year sabbatical working with Dr Christian Barnard in Cape Town. He worked with the orthopaedic surgeon Robin Denham (in fact they continued to work together until 1991 at BUPA hospital, Portsmouth where he was also RMO in his late 60’s). Together they founded the British Medical Pilots Association and Dr Linton continued flying until 87 years of age. On one occasion he and Mr Denham landed a plane on the Eastern Road missing the nearby airfield which is now a housing estate. Dr Linton is proud of the fact that apart from a hernia repair he never had a day’s sickness in 24 years. He retired from the NHS at 65 in 1986, and continued working in the private sector (see above) until he was 70. At the time of writing he is alive and well at 90 living on Hayling Island.
    424. Chris Linton jottings

    Dr Richard Nainby-Luxmore
    425. Richard Nainby-Luxmore.
    426 Richard Nainby-Luxmore

    (soapy) (see photos) was appointed Consultant Anaesthetist in the early to mid 1960’s. He had been in the military. He liked paediatric anaesthesia and was chairman of the department from 1973. when he took over from Alex Larson to 1975 when Richard Lethbridge took over. There was a suggestion from orthopaedic surgeon Robin Denham that surgeons should appoint their own Consultant Anaesthetists to do all their lists and those of their registrars, take leave at the same time as the surgeon and be rewarded with that surgeons private practice. Dick Luxmore told Robin Denham where he could put his suggestion in no uncertain terms. He retired in 1991, and died some 15 years later.

    Dr Bob Stewart was another ex military anaesthetist who worked as a locum consultant in the department for 3 years in the early to mid 1970’s. He was an engaging personality and good company but sadly died at a relatively young age.

    Dr David Dickson was an associate specialist anaesthetist in the department and joined in the late 1960’s. He was at St Andrews Medical School with Don McDougall. He was a keen cyclist, but sadly suffered two serious cycling accidents, the second leading to his early retirement.

    Dr Richard Lethbridge was the cousin of Nainby-Luxmore and was appointed Consultant Anaesthetist about 1968. He was meticulous and would have pleased today’s management as he was scrupulous about hand washing. He was chairman of the department in 1975. He left for family reasons in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s to work in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada.

    Dr Robert Buchanan
    427. Robert Buchanan

    429. Robert Buchanan (obituary)

    was on the Oxford, Portsmouth Senior Registrar rotation. In the late 1960’s he became SHMO in anaesthetics in Portsmouth awaiting a Consultant job to be advertised. He was a hard working, popular and innovative anaesthetist who had constructed a digital pulse monitor. Sadly he died suddenly in 1969 at age 37 (S16 and photo P34).

    Received from Rowena Ahyee-Hallsworth 09jul2014

    Dear sir,
    I am making contact to thank you for your beautiful history of the Portsmouth Hospitals. In the early 1970s I worked as a senior registrar in anaesthesia at the Portsmouth group hospitals, one of the 2 youngest to be appointed. I came in from overseas with my British husband to set up home and family. After a few years we then moved overseas again, and again!

    I am researching for a presentation that I have to give which includes my very active life. Indeed one great part of it was working with Alex Larson in that so busy department, (and catering and organising for our Christmas party the first year ) stands in my memory. I do so remember working that blood gas machine wow; long time ago.

    I am now retired from Anaesthesia and Surgical Intensive Care and am winding down my office patients in pain management. They take a long time.

    Rowena Ahyee-Hallsworth. FRCA

    Received from Janet Hurst 22aug2014

    I received a letter on 22/8/2014 from Janet Hurst who worked as a staff nurse at The Royal from 1970 to 1975, 3 of the 5 years on night duty, and she gives some fascinating insights into her experiences. She says operations were carried out as soon as possible if they were emergencies. Wednesday nights were The Royals night for emergencies. During her time there the volume of work necessitated appointing full time night staff. She talks of the individual anaesthetists.

    Don Argent was a tall no nonsense man and strong as an ox.
    Dr Boyd does not receive the most favourable comments and would deal with more than one patient at the same time.
    David Dixon she liked very much.
    Barbara Green likewise was very popular.
    Maggie Evans was very professional and no chit chat.
    Alex Larson was also no nonsense, but liked by the staff. He was kept particularly busy with his 4 bedded "intensive care" unit upstairs where sister Johnson was in charge. She was very efficient and organised the pantomime and coach outings.
    Dr Lethbridge was quiet and conscientious
    Rachel Blackburn was the senior anaesthetic nurse.
    Chris Linton had a sense of humour and was popular.He had a Mach 1 car and gave the nurses rides in it.
    Dr Merlin had a glass eye, and she does not remember him well.
    Dr Luxmore could be frightening but was a good anaesthetist and well liked. Disturb him in the anaesthetic room during induction at your peril. On occcassion the anaesthetic nurse didn't get there in time and was locked out.She remembers a little ditty:
    "When Soapy Luxmore gives his gas a nurse is by his side,
    They tiptoe in and close the door,then lock it from inside,
    And we are left a wondering just what they have to hide,
    While we are working in theatre."

    He was excellent with children.
    Kenneth Ross was also popular, though sadly he had Parkinsons.
    June Shanks worked mainly with Betty Shelswell, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. Dr Shanks wore a white belted coat overall.
    Graham Hollister was a trainee who got a Consultant job in Canterbury.
    Dr Mustafa was larger than life and totally unflappable, and she recounts how he saved a member of staff.
    Isobel Mconnichie was a dear Scots lady.
    She also talks of other trainees, Freda Stockings, a force to be reckoned with, Malcolm Wade and the sad John Stevens who died tragically when I was an SR in Southampton in 1975.
    Her PS was that the young female staff liked Bob Young.

    I have her original letter which runs to 10 pages.

    Received from Charles Gillbe 27mar2016

    My time in Portsmouth by John Gillbe

    I am intrigued by your history of the anaesthetic department in Portsmouth in which I was an SHO from February 5th 1975 until April 1976.

    I came to anaesthesia by a circuitous route. I had been interested in central neurotransmission as a medical student and the natural way of pursuing this interest professionally was to continue my association with Dr Tim Crow, my supervisor, who became head of the Clinical Research Centre in Psychiatry at Northwick Park Hospital. On completing my house jobs in 1973, I realized that I lacked the maturity to go immediately into Psychiatry, looked for a holding position and became a medical SHO in Leicester, at the now closed Groby Road Hospital. On completed that year I developed a wanderlust and spent a few months at Royal Brisbane Hospital, where amongst other things, I found that my resuscitation skills were poor, and whenever things got really difficult, the arrival of the ‘gasman’ always calmed the troubled waters. I decided that six months of anaesthesia would enhance my usefulness. Six months eventually became forty years.

    My appointment itself was by a process that could not happen now. For social reasons I wished to live near Portsmouth and applied for jobs at Chichester and Portsmouth. As luck would have it, the Chichester interview was the earlier by one day. I was interviewed and asked to wait, summoned back in and offered the job. I explained my dilemma. An immediate ‘phone call established that I was likely to get the job in Portsmouth the next day, someone else was appointed at Chichester and I was duly appointed at Portsmouth.

    The training of SHO’s was, to put it mildly, ahead of its time. To put that into context, John Moon had just been appointed, Ian Sutherland, Barbara Green and Maggie Evans were young consultants and the Department was essentially run by Phyllis, who was quite capable of re-allocating trainees to lists when necessary for service reasons. SHO’s started with twelve weeks in an essentially supernumerary capacity (reduced by a couple of weeks if learning was fast), and allocated largely to the younger members of the Department during the day. At night, we were expected to do on call work, but this could be with the registrar of our choice. I attached myself to Ken Cooper, a New Zealander who was shortly to return thereto, who was a good teacher and in addition held the enlightened view that not much was learned after midnight, so I was sent to bed around then. There were three hospitals in which the trainees were involved, The Royal, St Mary’s and Queen Alexandra, but initial experience was largely at St Mary’s. Exposure to obstetrics was reserved for the six-month mark of training, but paediatrics in those days was not accorded special status and lists were frequently mixed, starting with the children. After twelve weeks the novices joined the on-call roster.

    The on-call system in 1975/76 was distinctly unusual. The first on call, an SHO or registrar, covered emergencies in all three hospitals. The obstetric on call, a more experienced SHO or a registrar, was resident at St Mary’s and looked after the obstetric unit and cardiac arrests at St Mary’s. Since there was no critical care unit, this was significantly titular except in the case of the renal unit, situated at the extreme eastern end of the hospital and in those relatively early days of dialysis required a sprint of a few hundred yards to attend patients with hypocalcaemia, a state that the excellent nurses had invariably corrected before we arrived. After a couple of weeks of obstetrics one learned to ask for Dr Young’s epidural sets since they were the only ones that gave a reliable loss of resistance. He had set up the obstetric epidural service in the previous year or so and there was still resistance from some of the older obstetric staff who maintained that good analgesia may obscure significant symptoms, really as a cover for the view that childbirth should be painful as a punishment for earlier pleasures. When the first on call required advice or a higher level of skill he phoned the consultant on call. On the other hand, if he simply had a stack of cases in different hospitals that looked as if its over-running would impede the next day’s work, he called the reserve on call, who was one of the three non-consultant career grades (David Dixon, June Shanks and a further lady whose name I have forgotten) or one of the three senior registrars. It was not considered ‘good form’ to involve the reserve of the consultant too often.

    A little about people
    Bob Stewart, whom I believe died of lung cancer in the late seventies or early eighties, left most patients breathing spontaneously: he extended the bag section of a Magill circuit so that the bag was in the anaesthetic room and he could sit there smoking and monitoring the patient at the same time. His patients did well. I think the reason he was a long term locum was that having spent much of his life overseas (Canada?) he lacked the FFARCS.

    Ian Sutherland, not only used 2.5% thiopentone, but used it initially in a ten ml syringe. He was a keen sailor and had a significant fund of risqué jokes.

    Dr Boyd, a consultant by virtue of the fact he was a GP anaesthetist prior to the inception of the NHS in 1948 was such an enthusiast for suxamethonium infusions that on at least one occasion when I was there he failed to stop it on return to the ward. An instruction in neuromuscular blockade that we could have done without. I think he retired in 1976.

    Dr Lethbridge emigrated in 1976, I think and this was largely due to despair at the state of the UK at the time.

    Alex Larson ran the intensive care unit, situated at the Royal, into which trainees were not permitted. He advised me that the only two journals that I should bother reading were the Lancet and the NEJM since anything of serious importance was published in one or other of them. He was probably correct. More contentiously he advised me to leave seriously ill acute abdomens breathing spontaneously on ether so that I would have no trouble reversing them. His advice in this regard was unique and consequently ignored. He was a particularly unflappable anaesthetist. I recall on one occasion in the pain clinic when seeking the coeliac plexus, he administered local anaesthesia either intravascularly or intrathecally, I forget which. Un-flapped, he resuscitated, arranged for a short term bed and sent the patient home later that day. He anaesthetized Bradmore’s thoracic list in the days when rigid bronchoscopies were usually done under local anaesthesia and post-thoracotomy analgesia amounted to a very few increments of 5mg of pethidine on the basis that more would depress ventilation to an unsafe degree.

    There were three senior registrars, of whom I recall Peter Spreadbury, Kit Eatock, who became a consultant at Banbury and subsequently in South-West Scotland and Rowena Hallsworth, a Trinidadian. Rowena’s husband was Welsh, and spoke with a welsh accent which happens to be similar to that of Trinidad; she was relatively accent free and was teased when she went home about marrying a true Trinidadian. Of the registrars, I remember Talud Khan, Jan Kwiatek, a Pole who subsequently worked in Germany and Mervyn Ross, whom Rowena Hallsworth memorably described as talking like a telegram. Amongst the other SHO’s were B Padi, a Ghanaian, and Colin Goodchild, who was the next to be appointed after me. He went on to be an academic anaesthetist in Leeds and then Monash, Australia before branching out into commercial pharmaceuticals. Adrian Ruddle was also an SHO with us for a while.

    By the standards of the time, the equipment was usual. There were no capnographs or pulse oximeters in those days. Monitoring was entirely clinical apart from intermittent manual blood pressure measurements with an oscillotonometer, the face of which proudly boasted of its invention by Dr H von Recklinghausen (1867–1942). There was one ‘bouncing ball’ ECG oscilloscope monitor for each group of theatres. One arterial line was inserted in the sixteen months during which I worked in Portsmouth, by Bob Young, who was anaesthetising a phaeochromocytoma. It was a performance that required a week’s preparation. Ventilation in theatres and in the ICU was carried out by an East Radcliffe ventilator which, unnervingly, performed perfectly whether or not it was connected to a fresh gas source. The anaesthetic machines were old but serviceable. Those in the Royal were equipped with a vapouriser in circuit circle system, but the machines themselves all had halothane Mark II vapourisers and a Boyle’s bottle which was used variously for ether, trichloroethylene, or for those of an adventurous temperament, chloroform, a bottle of which had been left in the anaesthetic room at the Royal by Dr Argent, who had retired a year or two earlier.

    Clinical Practice
    As I recall, intubation was commonplace. The drill for failed intubation in obstetric surgical delivery was to use deep ether on a mask. Halothane was regarded by some as too expensive for routine use, so ether and trichloroethylene were preferred. Gallamine, an otherwise poor neuromuscular blocker was used by some to relax patients whilst breathing spontaneously, for instance for anal dilatations, a technique known as ’a touch of flax’ (Flaxedil was the trade name for gallamine.) Althesin was a new drug, albeit a fairly short lived one. There was no bar on trainees, even at SHO level working in remote sites even in paediatrics. During the summer months, in order to maintain the clinical throughput, all trainees who had done their three months’ apprenticeship would do solo lists. There was no doubling up. A night on call was followed by a ‘library period’ the next morning since there was doubt about the contractual legality of permitting time off after a night on call. Weekend call started on Friday morning and finished on Monday morning when the week’s work would begin. There were still patients, about half a dozen, I think, who had become paralysed during the polio epidemic that was terminated by the vaccines in the fifties, and who had a semblance of life in iron lungs.

    The strike
    During the strike of the winter of 1975-76, the consultant staff were supportive. We agreed to maintain emergency services by working a forty-hour week, so there was no elective anaesthetic work carried out by trainees. This had no effect on our rate of pay since none of us worked a sufficient number of hours, I think eighty-four, to claim overtime in the normal course of events. Waiting lists were so long then that I doubt if there was much material difference to them either.

    As for me, I learnt my trade in my sixteen months in Portsmouth. I moved to the Westminster, where I was clearly more experienced than all but a few of the other trainees, and the successively to the Brompton, The Royal Free, Queen Square and back to the Brompton where I was a consultant for three decades. I do not think I could have had a better grounding in the art of anaesthesia than I had at Portsmouth

    Dr Alex Larson
    On September 24th 1964 an interview was held for a new Consultant Anaesthetist on the forthcoming retirement of Brian Sandiford. In 1984 Larson submitted his CV. See Dr Larson's CV in S23 to S29, also see photo P01, documents D1 to D7 and S18 and S19.
    430. Seating plan for Interview
    431. Alex Larson letter of appoinment

    There were 1439 beds in the three main hospitals (689 at St Mary’s, 511 at QA and 239 at the Royal). The permanent anaesthetists comprised 6 Consultants (probably Brian Sandiford, Don Argent, Kenneth Ross, Hugh Boyd, Chris Linton and Peter McDonnagh, and 2 SHMO’s (probably June Shanks and Dr Merlin). There were 2 SHO’s, 3 registrars and 1 senior registrar. The consultants each did 9.3 sessions a week and the SHMO’s 7.5.The population served was 440,000. The successful candidate was Alex Larson.
    432. Alex Larson with Princess Alexandra 1979 on opening of QA.

    He was probably the most important and influential person in the history of the anaesthetic department. He was aged 37. He was born in Canada and came to England in 1934 aged 7. He qualified from Durham and during his anaesthetic training spent a year as a research fellow in Philadelphia. He was very innovative, set high standards, did not suffer fools gladly, and worked enormously hard by todays standards. He established the pain clinic in Portsmouth in 1967, which after Liverpool may have been the second pain clinic in the country. He developed a variety of nerve blocks including intrathecal neurolysis, percutaneous cordotomy, hypnosis, acupuncture and an epidural morphine service for intractable pain in cancer. The pain clinic began at St Mary’s with just two half day sessions a week, but increased to one every day, and remains a thriving concern to this day.
    433. Wessex Regional Hospital Board

    In 1965 there was an urgent need for intensive care beds in Portsmouth. At that time the only facility was a 4 bed resuscitation unit for trauma at The Royal. This unit lacked medical cover and there was no sense of direction. Initially Alex spent most of his spare time in the unit, and as a result was eventually nominated consultant in charge. For the first five years he provided sole emergency and routine cover. Junior staff was refused, and only after a written parliamentary question were 2 anaesthetic registrars appointed. In 1970 planning and commissioning of a new 12 bed ITU at QA was undertaken with Alex in charge. It was initially at The Royal and moved to QA in1979, with a smaller unit on B6 at St Mary’s. Despite working in a high tech environment he emphasised the virtues of basic clinical history and examination. He ran the handicapped dental clinic until 1978 when he passed it on to Donald MacDougall. He gave anaesthetics for chest surgery at St Mary’s using double lumen tubes and helium, and also for mitral valvotomy.

    He was a keen and effective teacher, lectured regularly, established a course for nurses in anaesthesia which became accepted as a national standard, ran a course for Portsmouth ODA’s from 1967, was involved from 1972 with the Wessex course which became a national standard, and was associate dean of medicine in Portsmouth for many years. He taught the medical students from Southampton as postgraduate dean, for which he was given a part time secretary housed in a portacabin and funded by the University of Southampton. He was chairman of the anaesthetic department from 1967 to 1970 and 1971 to 1973. It beggars belief that one man could have done so much. His greatest epitaph is the benefits he conferred on the people of Portsmouth and South East Hampshire that have endured to this day. He retired aged 60 in 1988, not in the best of health from all the years of hard work. In his retirement he enjoyed art and wood carving and gained a grade A in art and design at age 65. He died in 2009 at age 81. Professor Gary Smith represented the hospital at his funeral.
    434. Alex Larson (obituary)
    435. Alex Larson (obituary)
    436. Alex Larson

    437. Portsmouth News Alex Larson
    438. Portsmouth News Alex Larson
    472. Alex Larson the Sculptor



    Part 2 PHYLLIS’S TIME 1970 TO 1990.

    Phylis Seymour
    441. Phyllis Seymour
    442. Elaine McMurragh, Phyllis Seymour, Hector Arthur

    (see S20 and photos P05 and P35) was appointed secretary (probably the first) to the anaesthetic department in March 1970. At this time the Consultants and SHMO’s were Dr’s Boyd, Merlin, Ross, Argent, Larson, Lethbridge, Linton, and Nainby-Luxmore). There were 4 SHO’s, 5 registrars, one attached to the ICU, and 2 senior registrars. She shared the only office with the senior registrars in the old part of St Mary’s, opposite the twin theatres which were used for gynaecological procedures being near the gynae wards. The Honeywell theatres were at the end of the main corridor, later to be demolished and housed in a new building upstairs (now all sadly demolished in 2012). The office had a small window and a skylight. The ambulances used to back up with the patients being delivered to the nearby wards and theatre. The fumes from these vehicles would drift in as they usually left the engines running. Apparently when the doctors came into the office during the evening to collect their mail and theatre lists putting the light on aroused the cockroaches which fortunately didn’t come out during the day. Phyllis recalls however one jumping up from under the cover of the typewriter one morning and rushing around the desk. An old computer was put in a room opposite the office (organised by Derek Pounder) but unfortunately it was stolen. Chris Linton was in the habit of coming in to the office and singing to Phyllis which I suspect she quite enjoyed.

    443. Phyllis Seymour
    The Consultants took it in turn to be chairperson of the department. There was not the luxury of a photocopier and if needed one had to go to a separate building. Phyllis was encouraged to use the duplicator which was housed in the gynae building nearby. The department provided anaesthetic cover for The Royal, St Mary’s, QA, Gosport War Memorial (often the GP anaesthetists), St James for ECT’s (about to move to Havant in 2013), Dentals at Coldeast (subsequently ECT at The Meadows at Coldeast also to move to Havant), and anaesthetic assessment clinics. When the move to QA took place in 1979, with the advantages of extra space, weekly tutorial meetings were held on Tuesday evenings and once a month in the mornings. There was an exchange arrangement with Southampton for 2 senior registrars for 2 years. With the growth of the anaesthetic department Phyllis was allocated part time help after assessment. Eileen Shorthouse was an early part time assistant and later Beverley Hancock of whom Phyllis has fond memories. In 1970 there were two new consultant anaesthetic appointments.

    Dr Barbara Green
    444. Barbara Green

    (see photo) was a popular personality. She did sessions in the intensive care unit and was chairperson of the department from 1981 to 1984 approximately. She shared a consultant post with Dr Sutherland towards the end of her career and together they were known as Dr Greenland, which could on occasion result in confusion. She retired in 1996 and sadly not long after was taken ill in Spain. Dr Bruce Taylor acting beyond the call of duty accompanied her back for treatment in this country.

    Dr Maggie Evans
    445. Maggie Evans,

    (see photo) was a personality and was an effective chairperson of the department between approximately 1984 and 1987, and ran the anaesthetic assessment clinic for a number of years. She had a pony and trap and a steeplechase horse at Fontwell Park together latterly with a large acreage at May’s Coppice Farm, and thankfully declined forcibly a very substantial offer for it from a developer. Prior to this she lived at Woodbine Cottage in Havant and part of her property was successively lived in by Jane Watt-Smith, Anne Thornberry and Julie Bourne. She retired relatively early age 57 in 1993, and sadly died around 2009.

    In 1971 Dr Bob Young
    446. Bob Young

    (see photo) was appointed consultant. He was carefully questioned about the state of his health at interview, both physical and mental, as there had been problems of this nature in the department. There was also interest expressed in his ability to stand up to surgeons. He passed with flying colours on both counts. He was often asked to do the difficult cases. Also he was in charge of maternity anaesthesia for some 10 years. In 1974 he served an attachment at Southend under J Alfred Lee and Colin Birt where he was involved with obstetric epidurals. When he came back to Portsmouth he initiated the obstetric epidural service. He also began spinals for Caesarean Section and taught Anne Thornberry who later headed the obstetric anaesthesia service in Portsmouth. He was chairman of the department from 1978 to 1981, and was medical director from 1992 until his retirement aged 61 in 1997.

    Dr Ian Sutherland
    447. Ian Sutherland.

    (see photo) was also appointed Consultant in 1971. He was 39 when appointed. He looked after the HDU/respiratory unit on B6 at St Mary’s from 1973 to 1979. In 1974 he stopped the use of 5% thiopentone, changing to 2.5%. He was also involved with the renal unit at St Mary’s from 1971 to 1981, and in the planning and development of the intensive care unit at St Mary’s, which opened in the late 1980’s. He was chairman of the department from 1975 to 1978, taking over from Dr Lethbridge and being succeeded by Dr Young. Between 1974 and 1979 he was in charge of departmental education. Also in the mid 1980’s he was the guiding light in the formation of the private anaesthetic group in Portsmouth which was based on the Plymouth model where he had been a senior registrar and which has run successfully for 27 years and most importantly has ensured that there is no compromise of NHS duties by consultant anaesthetists in Portsmouth and no interdepartmental conflict; a fine testimony and a model for other departments which have struggled in this respect. He also for many years organised the departmental Christmas social events in the medical centre at St Mary’s. He retired in 1996 aged 65 after job sharing for his final years with Barbara Green.

    Dr Donald MacDougall
    448. Don MacDougall

    (see S21 and S22#21, and photo P11) was appointed at 40 in 1974. He had worked for five years in Sweden. He was always a perfect gentleman and well liked. As there was already a Don in the department (Don Argent) he was known as Donald. He was chairman of the department from 1987 to 1990. He took over the handicapped dental clinic from Alex Larson in 1978 and was associated with it until his retirement aged 63 in 1998.
    449. Don MacDougall letter
    450. Don MacDougall letter

    Anne Turrall
    451. Paul Weaver, Anne Turrall

    (see photo) was appointed consultant in 1977, on the retirement of Hugh Boyd. She retired at 60 in 1998

    John Moon
    452. John Moon,

    John Moon (see photo P02 and section in text) was appointed consultant in 1975 aged 33, to replace Don Argent. There was some discussion by the appointments committee whether he was too young, but fortunately good sense prevailed and he was duly appointed. He had been my senior registrar when I was a registrar in Poole in the early 1970's. He was innovative and had an encyclopaedic memory. He was for many years from 1978 in charge of anaesthetic equipment, and was the first formal departmental tutor from 1981 to 1984 when David Desgrand took over. He was chairman of the department from 1990 to 1992. When Portsmouth became a trust hospital in 1992 he became the first clinical director, a position he held until 1997 when again Dr Desgrand took over. This became an increasingly onerous position and a separate chairman of the department was created to help share the load. He retired on December 31st 2000 at 58. In recognition of his substantial contributions to the running of the department for so many years the department at St Mary's was named after him. It has now been demolished but the plaque bearing John's name is displayed for posterity in the Anaesthetic museum at QA. (see photo P43).

    453. John Moon plaque

    John Moon writes on 4 Nov 2012:
    Throughout my time being involved with Anaesthetic equipment, and
    presumably since, the dept. received tremendous support from the Medical
    Engineering/Electronics dept.
    Initially under John Saunders, and on his retirement Stuart Scott, even before
    PC days. they had a very comprehensive inventory of equipment which was
    of great help in keeping an eye on what was where and what was needing
    replacement. Besides that they were very skilled in carrying out repairs to
    equipment so that it was returned to safe use long before it would have been
    if we had had to depend on outside repair engineers.
    John [Moon]

    454. Peter SPREADBURY

    Peter was appointed consultant in 1976. He had been a fellow senior registrar with me at Southampton where he rotated with Portsmouth (and I Winchester). He had sessions in the intensive care unit. He was chairman of the department in 1996. He retired at 59 ¾ in 2002.

    Dr Joe Shannon
    455. Joe Shannon

    (see photo) was also appointed consultant in 1976 on the resignation of Richard Lethbridge. He was almost exactly the same age as both Peter Spreadbury and John Moon. He was chairman of the department in 1992 and retired at 60 in 2002.

    David Desgrand
    456. David DesGrand

    was appointed consultant in 1982. He is conscientious, hard working and always willing to help colleagues, see photo P13. On appointment the hospital was under the South East Hampshire Health Authority and Dick Bishop was the hospital manager, an approachable and savvy administrator. The cogwheel system was in effect with a main medical advisory committee and with departmental chairpersons as representatives. There were three senior registrars in the department, two rotating with Southampton and one with Oxford. Junior on call comprised intensive care on call, maternity on call at St Mary’s, and a first and second on call at QA as well as the consultant on call. David Desgrand was departmental tutor from 1984 to 1989 and clinical director from 1995 to 1999, succeeding John Moon in both roles.

    Dr Derek Pounder
    457. Derek Pounder

    (see photo) was appointed Consultant in 1983. He set up the day surgery unit at St Mary’s and at QA with Chris West administrator and David Barnard maxillo facial surgeon. He worked increasingly in the chronic pain clinic and developed a national and international reputation for percutaneous cervical cordotomy, principally for patients with pleural mesothelioma. In this he worked with Ed Neville, Consultant Chest Physician. He was also involved in the running of the private anaesthetic group for which his wife Liz Pounder was the principal secretary as she remains to this day. He retired in 2012 at 63.

    Professor Gary Smith
    458. Gary Smith

    (see photo) was appointed Consultant in 1987 on the retirement of Chris Linton in 1986. On the retirement of Alex Larson in 1988 he took over as head of the intensive care unit. Initially he had seven anaesthetic lists and two sessions in intensive care per week. Drs Green and Spreadbury also had two intensive care sessions a week. Gary’s working practice was clearly far too heavy and he tells me the most onerous part was his weekend responsibilities in the unit which of course were in addition to his week time work. Under his leadership the unit became more high tech and importantly there were dedicated intensive care nurses who were not shared with the coronary care unit as previously. There was one nurse per patient. Arterial lines and central lines were used more frequently and the ventilators improved. At this time there were also ventilated patients on the renal unit at St Mary’s and ward B3 at St Mary’s. A dedicated ambulance for transferring patients between the QA and St Mary’s units was set up with two transfers per week on average. There were times when the transfers were somewhat hairy owing to the speed of the police escorts. There were six intensive care beds at QA. St Mary’s started with a small two bedded ICU unit in a side room on a ward where patients could be ventilated. Several anaesthetists took turns to cover this a week at a time. This then metamorphosed into first a four bedded section on another ward and then to a new four bedded unit when the new theatres were built which is when the ITU consultants started covering it. In 1990 Dr Bruce Taylor (see below) was appointed as an intensive care consultant with two anaesthetic sessions a week, and effectively Gary Smith and Bruce Taylor ran the units together. Dr Peter McQuillan was the third intensive care consultant starting in 1994, and subsequently the number of intensive care consultants have expanded exponentially to the current 14, which illustrates just how hard Alex Larson, Peter Spreadbury, and Barbara Green in the early days and Gary Smith, Bruce Taylor and Peter McQuillan latterly worked.

    In the late 1980’s CPAP was first used at QA intensive care unit, and a new Hewlett Packard monitoring system introduced. The first haemofiltration in Portsmouth was performed by Gary Smith and Bruce Taylor in the early 1990’s.

    Gary Smith was instrumental in the development of the ALERT course (Acute Life Threatening Events Recognition and Treatment) starting in 1999. This became internationally recognised. In 1993 he was the co-author of the textbook Anaesthesia A to Z (now Anaesthesia and Intensive Care), which became a best seller for trainees and examiners alike. In 2006 along with Roger Killen and David Prytherch he developed the vitalPAC system, a hand held computer based system for the early recognition of patient deterioration, now in use in other NHS hospitals. In 2003 he planned and developed the Portsmouth Hospitals “Training, Education and Assessment by Medical Stimulation” (TEAMS) Centre, based in the Quad Centre building and was director there for eight years, During his career, Gary won several national awards for patient safety; was named “NHS Innovator of the year” in the NHS Leadership Awards 2010; the Intensive Care Society Whittaker Award in 2011; and the Humphry Davy medal by the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 2012. He was involved from 2001 in the simulator suite at QA.

    Gary has also been in charge of the Portsmouth Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation service from 1988 to his retirement in 2011. A truly remarkable list of achievements.

    Dr Anne Thornberry
    459. Anne Thornberry

    (see photo) was appointed Consultant in 1988. She represented the department in my interview in 1992 when she asked me if I was interested in research. Of course I had to tell a little white lie which has always worried me. Anne was a senior registrar in Portsmouth from 1985. After appointment as a consultant she took the lead role in obstetric anaesthesia as “Coordinator of Obstetric Anaesthetic Services”, and revitalised the service. This is explained succinctly in her attached synopsis (see in text section) and provides salutary reading. She was departmental tutor from 1989 to 1994, deputy regional adviser for Wessex from 1994 to 1995 and Wessex Regional Adviser from 1995 to 1997. She became a college adviser and examiner in 1993 and is still heavily involved with the college in 2012. Sadly for the department she moved to Gloucester for personal reasons in February 1997 (her husband was and is a Consultant Maxillo Facial Consultant in Cheltenham).

    In 1989 Dr Pete Rogers
    460. Peter Rogers

    was appointed Consultant (see photo P21). He had been a novice at Southampton when I was a senior registrar in the mid 1970’s and tells me I taught him gas, oxygen and halothane bog standard anaesthesia. He was largely involved with the pain clinic during his 22 years at Portsmouth, mostly at St Mary’s but latterly at QA. He was chairman of the department in 1996. He retired in 2011 to work in The Princess Margaret Hospital, Akrotiri, Cyprus.

    Dr Bruce Taylor
    461. Bruce Taylor, Allison Prosser

    was appointed Consultant intensivist in 1990. See photo P18 and section in the text He did 2 anaesthetic sessions a week and shared the considerable intensive care load with Gary Smith, having a particular commitment in the 4 bedded new ICU at St Mary’s. Some record of his activities are recorded earlier. On more than one occasion Bruce saved patients lives by his steadfastness and determination when everyone else had given up, the most notable being a girl who had a slow bleed from a splenic rupture after being kicked in the stomach and by the time she presented was nearly moribund. Over the next few weeks Bruce bullied remorselessly all and sundry especially the surgeons and eventually after several weeks and many operations to everybody’s amazement except Bruce made a full recovery. He worked for the government on preparations for a possible bird flu epidemic in the late 2000’s and at the time of writing is president of the UK intensive care society.

    During Phyllis’s era there were a number of sub consultant grade anaesthetists in the department.

    Dr June Shanks
    462. Barbara Green, Maggie Evans, June Shanks, Phyllis Seymour

    (see photo) was popular among the staff and worked in the department for a number of years. She probably retired around 1989.

    Dr Jayabalam
    463. Jeyabalam

    (see photo) was a very capable anaesthetist who could be entrusted with all cases and was an associate specialist with the fellowship. He retired in 2008 at 64 after many years in the department.

    Dr Hector Arthur
    464. Elaine McMurragh, Phyllis Seymour, Hector Arthur

    (see photo) came as a junior from Dorchester in 1979. He was a competent affable anaesthetist who subsequently became a staff grade. He tells of his travels with the obstetric flying squad from St Mary’s. He retired a month short of his 67th birthday in 2007.

    Dr Elaine McMurragh
    465. Elaine McMurragh, Peter Spreadbury, Anne Turrall

    (see photo P08) was appointed in 1973. She developed with Dr David Barnard and Thelma Arthur the handicapped dental clinic at Coldeast in 1985 and worked in it until 1995. She retired in 1997.

    078. Maggie PAGE

    I started as an anaesthetic SHO at Portsmouth in 1968 having done house jobs and some obstetrics and gynae in London. No formal interview, just shown around by Dr. Don Argent, head of the department at that time. I lived in the “mess” where we had excellent breakfasts and dinners in our own private dining room. I remember Dr.Maggie Evans, Dr. Barbara Green, Dr.Ian Sutherland and Dr. Bob Young were all fairly newly appointed consultants and very helpful to me as a new recruit. I also remember some of the older consultants like Dr. “Daddy” Ross and Dr. Boyd—the former was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease but miraculously never missed a vein! My duties were mainly between St. Marys and the old Royal hospital—there were many trips over to the Royal in the night for orthopaedic emergencies which I had to cope with, tho’always with a consultant or registrar on the other end of a phone. I also had to be on call for the Flying Squad for domiciliary obstetric emergencies—quite scary to be whisked off in an ambulance with blue lights flashing to give an anaesthetic in somebody’s bedroom—mainly for conditions such as a retained placenta or a forceps delivery, but once I clearly remember giving an anaesthetic for undiagnosed twins with Mike Kettle the consultant obstetrician at the other end—quite horrendous now in retrospect and would never be countenanced today. Somehow I survived, as did the patients and I really enjoyed my year in anaesthetics, taking the DA before I moved on to do paediatrics and more obstetrics and gynae. Before leaving for an assistant post in general practice in Basingstoke. I returned to Portsmouth when my new husband was appointed as a consultant in 1971, and I was pleased to be able to continue to do 3/4 anaesthetic sessions per week in QAH and SMH and the Gosport War Memorial hospitals, combining this with general practice –this of course is no longer possible today.

    Dr Sam Bhonsle
    466. Sam BHONSLE
    (see photo) was a staff grade. He was a personality and retired at 65 after over 20 years in the department in 2007.

    Dr Rowena Ahyee-Hallsworth
    xxx. Dr Rowena AHYEE-HALLSWORTH
    was a Senior Registrar in the department in the early 1970s, one of the two youngest to be appointed.

    Dr Julie Bourne
    467. Julie Bourne

    (see photo) was a junior in the department in the late 1980’s and subsequently had a permanent sub Consultant grade position in the department. She worked also in the pain clinic. She is feisty and a favourite of mine. She moved to Western Australia with her family several years ago where she is still working.

    Dr Kanchu Chada
    469. Kanchu Chada with camera

    (see photo) was a staff grade in the department who retired in the late 1990’s at 51.

    Dr Farraq
    470. Farraq

    (see photo) who was a staff grade on the Isle of Wight who worked one day a week at St Mary’s.
    Dr’s Riley, Simon Wernicke, Philip Gray, Tart and Griffiths were GP anaesthetists who often worked at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Dr Damian Timms was also a GP anaesthetist who had been a junior in the department.

    Dr Louis Castilla was a staff grade who left in the early 1990’s to become a GP in Cosham.

    In 1964 there were 6 Consultants, 2 SHMO’s, 2 SHO’s, 3 registrars and 2 senior registrars for a total of 15 anaesthetists in the then 3 main hospitals. There may have been a small number of additional part time GP anaesthetists (see above).

    By the time Phyllis left in 1990 there were 15 Consultants including 2 intensivists and 8 possibly 9 sub consultant grade anaesthetists, a total of 24 permanent anaesthetists, plus junior staff.

    Now in 2013 there are 61 Consultants including 14 intensivists and 9 sub consultant grades, for a total of 75 permanent anaesthetists, plus 31 junior staff, for a total of 106 anaesthetists. This represents approximately a 6 fold increase in nearly 50 years (assuming GP anaesthetists in 1964), a sobering statistic.

Conceived, written and copyright © 2012, Robert Palmer, All Rights Reserved.

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, and hand-coded 2012 by John Palmer, .