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Biographical entry Harrison, Richard Anthony (1949 - 2012)

MRCS 1972; FRCS 1976; MB BS London 1972; MS 1987; LRCP 1972.

3 February 1949
Harleston, Norfolk, UK
5 March 2012
General surgeon


Richard Harrison was a general surgeon in Barnet, London. He was born on 3 February 1949 in Harleston, Norfolk, the youngest of three children of Leslie, a teacher who later became a vicar, and Helen, also a teacher. His first 10 years were spent in Cyprus, where his parents ran a junior school. The family then moved to England. Richard went to Neville House Preparatory School in Eastbourne and Ipswich Boarding School. After leaving school, he spent a year as a youth club leader, and then, in 1967, took up his place at St Mary's Hospital Medical School. He qualified in 1972 with honours, was awarded distinctions in medicine, applied pharmacology and therapeutics and surgery, and also gained the university gold medal in medicine.

Richard was a house surgeon at St Mary's and then a house physician at Edgware. He held other junior posts at Edgware and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore, and in 1980 was appointed to the registrar rotation at University College Hospital (UCH), London. He was subsequently appointed to the senior registrar rotation at UCH, working at Barnet General Hospital for Mitch Notaras and in the professorial unit under Charles Clark.

In 1987 he was appointed as a consultant general and gastrointestinal surgeon at Edgware General Hospital. That year he was also awarded the degree of master in surgery from the University of London for research into nutrition and protein turnover in surgical patients.

In 1997 the decision was made to close Edgware General Hospital and amalgamate the services with Barnet General Hospital. He was very much involved in this process. He was regarded as a highly competent and innovative surgeon. He provided the lead for major gastrointestinal surgery at Barnet General Hospital, and worked on a weekly basis with orthopaedic surgeons at RNOH, undertaking combined procedures for extensive abdominal and pelvic surgery for orthopaedic malignant disease.

He became involved in management, initially as chairman of the department of surgery, followed by his appointment as medical director of the combined Barnet General and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, a post which he held with great distinction. To those who knew Richard he was uniformly regarded as a highly competent manager and leader with unquestioned integrity. His vision and clarity of thought and expression earned him great respect.

He was a leading light in the planning and building of the new Barnet General Hospital. His great affinity for IT was reflected in the creation of the electronic patient record (EPR) project in the new hospital, which was subsequently rolled over to the combined Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust.

His passion and hobby in later years was woodturning, at which he became very skilled.

In 1972 Richard married Sue. They had two daughters, Joanna and Clare, and four grandchildren. He died on 5 March 2012 aged 63.

Michael Ward

The Royal College of Surgeons of England