Dr John MacLeod has recently retired at the age of 65, after a lifetime devoted to medicine and serving his community.
After studying at the University of Glasgow in 1952 and 2 years national service in the Royal Navy in the middle of his studies, John followed his parents into their practice in Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist. His compulsory naval experience taught him more about leadership than today’s gap years, foreign electives and management courses! His hospital jobs were in Glasgow and London and his GP training in Aviemore.
John is a natural leader, who has shown the way forward with many innovations such as organising educational meetings, which involved local policemen, the social worker and coastguard, years before primary care teams were invented. He was involved in GP research and writing fascinated him from an early age. A GP trainer for many years, he hosted his annual June meeting on North Uist for GP Trainees long before group activities became fashionable. and the trainees became registrars. He has estimated that over this time some 100 young GPs have visited and he is still in touch with very many of them.
His research compares the prevalence of hypertension in the Western Isles with urban communities and a study of Caesium levels, which tracked radioactive pollution from Sellafield. Paradoxically, John is probably better known world-wide than within the North of Scotland. He has represented the Scottish RCGP on numerous WONCA conferences and conventions representing both rural practice and Scotland. His involvement in this has led to the world-wide movement, which is now putting forward the case of the rural general practitioner.
His many academic honours during his 27 years as an island GP, include visiting professorships at the University of North Carolina and University of Western Ontario. He is also a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles but his most significant academic honour, on his retirement, has been election to Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons in Glasgow. It is a very rare honour for a GP to be recognised in this way by the Glasgow College.
John continues to serve with enthusiasm on the WONCA rural committee and is already planning his contribution to the Melbourne conference in 2 years time! His report on the most recent WONCA Conference may be found elsewhere on this website.
Upon his retirement he was given a "right royal" send off by the community he has devotedly served. There were parties, letters and articles in the local press wishing him a very long and happy retirement. A sentiment to which I would like to add having known John - through communications only and regretfully not personally - for many years. Enjoy yourself, John, you deserve it !
John was asked to give some background to his practice and has written the following short piece:
Undergraduates and School Pupils.
1976 to 2000, I had about 100 undergraduates from all over the world come to the Practice for visits from 1-6 weeks.
1988 to 2000, I had 2-3 School Pupils each year
for a week of Job Experience in my Consulting Room. This innovative
programme is now gaining momentum and many Medical Schools have begun to
require this of applicants so colleagues, world wide, have joined the
scheme, that helps young people make a more informed application for
training, in Medicine.
The Practice was Dispensing with a lower than average number of prescriptions and cost per head. X ray, Ultra Sound and some Surgery were available at Daliburgh Hospital (40miles by road). Although referrals used to be almost entirely to Glasgow or Inverness, with increased staffing and facilities, latterly more were to Stornoway and Daliburgh.
The Practice was well served by Community Nurses, Physiotherapist, Chiropodist, Community Psychiatric Nurse and Social Worker.
There is no record of any formal complaint against me. I kept a "Good News " file of thank you letters which was a great boost, at difficult times.
It has always been an "open" Practice with a welcome extended to visiting Doctors, Students and School Pupils.
Outwith the actual clinical work, I have had three phases.
1. Early years.. local activities and nationally (by correspondence)
2. Middle.. Area activities and a return to some National committees and research.
3. Later.. ..AIl this experience became very valuable when I was elected as a founder member of the W.O.N.C.A. Rural Group in 1992. (W.O.N.C.A. World Organisation of National Colleges Academique of Family Practice).
4. In the last month of full time Practice I received a tremendous boost and honour in that I was awarded the Fellowship (qua Physician) of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. This is an outstanding honour as it has seldom been given to a working General Practitioner. The College is composed of Hospital Doctors. Such recognition from Medical colleagues in the other sphere of Medicine, makes it immense.
5. Early months of retirement have been very busy with a trip to 4th WONCA Rural in Calgary, purchase of a new small motorboat, my appointment as a Community Director of Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust (local Museum and Arts centre) and now being elected as chairman of Commun na Mara which is to be a research and education centre for marine and freshwater species, based in Lochmaddy. This already entails making contact with Scientific experts in the Aquatic fields on a world wide basis.