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Biographical entry Jones, Robin Francis McNab (1922 - 2009)

MB BS London 1945; FRCS 1952.

22 October 1922
15 June 2009
ENT surgeon


Robin Francis McNab Jones, a much-respected leading ENT surgeon, was a consultant at both St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, London, where for five years he also served as dean of the Institute of Laryngology and Otology (from 1971 to 1976).

He was born in Bristol on 22 October 1922. His father was a civil servant; his mother, Mary, née Evans, a teacher. He moved as a child to Manchester, where he attended Manchester Grammar School. His family later went to London and Robin McNab Jones completed his secondary education at Dulwich College. He used to reminisce that he first thought of medicine as a career at about the age of nine after falling from a horse and receiving stitches in an ear. His parents both had an interest in science and were heavily involved in charitable work; theirs was a caring family.

McNab Jones graduated from St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College in 1945. He completed his house posts at St Bartholomew's, which included ENT, where he was much inspired by Frederick Capps to follow him into the specialty. National Service in the RAF intervened before McNab Jones could start his ENT training, firstly as a registrar at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, and then as a senior registrar at St Bartholomew's. He then returned to Manchester as senior lecturer in otolaryngology. A vacancy at St Bartholomew's arose in 1961 and Robin McNab Jones was appointed consultant ENT surgeon.

For the Royal College of Surgeons, he served as a co-opted member of the Council and as a member of the Court of Examiners. He was president of the section of laryngology of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the North of England Otolaryngology Society. He wrote on 'Diseases of the nose, sinuses, pharynx and larynx' for Price's textbook of medicine (tenth edition; London, English Language Book Society, Oxford University Press, 1966) and chapters on the nose in the third edition and on the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus in the fourth edition of Scott-Brown's diseases of the ear, nose and throat (London, Butterworths). His innovations included using the operating microscope for nasal surgery and an external approach for medialisation of a paralysed vocal fold.

Robin McNab Jones was a kindly man who showed a keen interest in benefitting his patients and also those who worked with him. Well-known as a teacher, in his retirement he continued his interest in education as chairman of the board of governors of Worsley Bridge School, Beckenham (from 1992 to 1997). He also served as a trustee of the Macnab Memorial Trust. (His mother was descended from Archibald McNab the 17th chief of the clan.) Throughout his life he had been a keen sportsman and an avid fisherman.

He married Mary Garrett in 1950, with whom he had four children. Two daughters have studied at St Bartholomew's; one read medicine, the other became a nurse. A third daughter has in midlife changed her profession to become an occupational therapist. Robin and Mary were close to all their family. They enjoyed holidays in Cornwall together with their ten grandchildren and it was on such a holiday in June 2009 that Robin McNab Jones became unwell. He died on 15 June after a short illness, aged 86.

Neil Weir

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2010 340 325].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England