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Biographical entry Grabham, Sir Anthony Herbert (1930 - 2015)

Kt 1988; MB BS Durham 1953; FRCS 1960.

19 July 1930
21 February 2015
General surgeon


Sir Anthony Grabham was a consultant surgeon at Kettering General Hospital and an influential chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA). He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 19 July 1930. His father, John Grabham, was a police inspector; his mother was Lily Grabham. He was educated at St Cuthbert's Grammar School in Newcastle and then went on to study medicine at Durham, qualifying in 1953.

After National Service in the RAMC, he trained at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary. He gained his FRCS in 1960. In 1965, he was appointed as a consultant general surgeon at Kettering, and stayed until his retirement in 1995.

He joined the consultants' committee of the BMA, becoming the committee's chairman in 1975. In 1979, he took a leading role in negotiations with the Labour government over its plans to abolish private beds in NHS hospitals. A compromise was reached and his negotiating skills were much admired by Barbara Castle, the then health secretary.

Grabham served on many other bodies, including the Joint Consultants' Committee (which he chaired for six years) and the General Medical Council.

In 1979, he was elected chairman of the BMA. During his period in office the organisation underwent a revival, with membership increasing substantially. Grabham retired from the BMA chairmanship in 1984 and went on to serve as president for a year. From 1995, he was chairman of the British Medical Journal Group, masterminding its transition towards independence from the BMA, allowing it to develop as a professional journal with an international reputation.

In 1960, he married Pamela Rudd and they had two sons and two daughters. Sir Anthony Grabham died on 21 February 2015. He was 84.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Telegraph 12 March 2015 - accessed 22 June 2017; The Independent 29 March 2015 - accessed 22 June 2017; BMJ 2015 350 502 - accessed 22 June 2017].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England