We report, with great sadness that our friend, Dr John Pittard, has died peacefully at home after a long illness, borne with incredible courage.
John had a huge intellect and his quick wit, sense of fun, and benign irreverence of authority, made him the best of company. As a student he obtained his second MB followed by a Medical Research Council funded BSc in anatomy and physiology at Newcastle. He qualified in medicine BM BCh from Magdalen College, Oxford. An MSc in Community Medicine, at the London School of Tropical Medicine, then Oxford, was to follow. He went on to do house jobs at the Hammersmith Hospital, which involved a further thesis in cardiac pacing. This led to him becoming a formidable clinician, with a special interest in cardiovascular medicine. John was hugely generous with his time, and was much loved by his patients as well as his medical and nursing colleagues.
He was a general practitioner (GP) in Staines, on the River Thames, for many years. He was famed for making national news, for using the honeymoon suite at the local Swan Hotel as a temporary consulting room, after his surgery was flooded, in 2014. See https://youtu.be/AiamWNX2iLs
John was also a hospital practitioner in cardiology at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, where he became a close colleague of cardiologist, Professor Michael Joy. He was one of three general practitioners appointed in 2000 to the NHS ‘National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease’, a 10-year strategy setting quality standards for coronary heart disease (CHD) care, and which played a major role in reducing CHD and stroke related deaths in the UK. He was also a founder member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (PCCS); and a valued member of the British Journal of Cardiology (BJC) editorial board.
As well as his family and medicine, John was passionate about Chelsea Football Club, golf and horse racing. He enjoyed the owner’s enclosure as a part owner of some fine, though not always successful, bloodstock. Many a lucky medical student had their primary care tutorials at the practice extended to an afternoon meeting at Ascot.
In later years he moved to Dorset to work in primary care, and palliative medicine at Blandford Hospital, where sadly, he himself was treated for pancreatic cancer. His illness did not impede his good nature and humour, and he was looking forward to picking a few winners at the recent Cheltenham Festival.
John Pittard was a larger-than-life character, who brought much comfort, care and joy to his patients, family and friends. He will be dearly missed by all of us. And our thoughts are with his marvellous family.
Henry Purcell and Terry McCormack