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Biographical entry Shinkfield, Mark Noel Forsyth (1957 - 2017)

BSc London 1979; MB BS 1982; FRCS 1986.

17 June 1957
Barnet, Hertfordshire
3 April 2017
General surgeon


Mark Shinkfield was a consultant general surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight. He was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, the son of Robert Forsyth Shinkfield, an engineer, and Diana Margaret Shinkfield née Littlejohn. He attended Bridgenorth Grammar School and then studied medicine at the Royal Free, qualifying in 1982 after also gaining an intercalated pharmacology degree.

Mark trained in general surgery as a registrar in several London teaching hospitals, including St Mary's and the Royal Free, and as a research associate at St Thomas'. He gained a wide range of experience as a senior registrar in Barnet, Chase Farm and, finally, at Charing Cross.

Mark was appointed as a consultant general surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight in 1997, moving there with his wife, Joy Marshall, who was a general practitioner in Freshwater, and their children Lucy, Anna and Henry, the family fully embracing Island life.

Mark's appointment coincided with profound changes in surgical practice as subspecialisation meant the role of general surgeons was becoming more focused. Nonetheless, Mark's initial practice encompassed the full gamut of surgical oncology, including breast, colorectal and upper gastrointestinal cancers, as well as benign disease. As lead clinician for the evolving cancer service he oversaw the introduction of multidisciplinary teams, peer review and specialist nursing. He was also lead clinician for the department of surgery and had a number of educational roles.

As sub-specialisation became more widespread, Mark adapted his surgical practice to focus on upper GI cancers, with outcomes comparable to much larger units. As the service became centralised he forged strong links with colleagues in Southampton.

Latterly, Mark developed an interest in laparoscopic surgery, introducing to the Island minimally invasive inguinal, paraoesophageal, incisional and parastomal hernia repairs, with his meticulous approach to each operation yielding consistently excellent results.

The Island provided Mark and Joy with a unique environment in which to raise their family. Mark was a keen drummer in a number of bands, often citing 'musical differences' for the various personnel changes.

He was also a keen sailor, owning a number of boats, windsurfing boards and jet skis over the years, and spent many happy hours cruising around the Solent. He also provided support for various charity swimming events on his boat, another nautical interest shared with Joy.

Mark's family enthusiasm for music meant the Shinkfields were always seen at Island events, particularly the famous Isle of Wight Festival, although a clear line was drawn by Mark regarding camping in the mud of Glastonbury.

Mark also enjoyed cycling and watching sport, particularly rugby and football, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the pubs around the West Wight.

Sadly, Mark was diagnosed in October 2016 with untreatable glioblastoma multiforme, and after a brave battle succumbed to the illness on 3 April 2017. He was 59. He will be missed by all his colleagues, the many patients he helped over his career, and remembered fondly for his wit, intellectual prowess and caring attitude to all he met.

Mike Nelson

Sources used to compile this entry: [Isle of Wight radio 6 April 2017 - accessed 14 November 2017; Isle of Wight County Press 13 April 2017 - accessed 14 November 2017].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England