Professor Ian Cameron, respiratory specialist who helped protect medical education in London – obituary

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Professor Ian Cameron, who died aged 85, was a respiratory specialist who spent much of his NHS career working to protect medical education in London.

In 1980, Lord Flowers’ task force on academic medicine in London faced the problem of oversupply of teaching hospitals in the capital, its main recommendations including a series of mergers between preclinical medical schools, including Guy’s, St Thomas’s and King’s.

The subsequent 1982 merger of St Thomas’ and Guy’s averted threats of closure, and as Dean of St Thomas’ and then headmaster of the merged schools from 1986 to 1992, Cameron did much to cement good relations between the two hospitals and their schools.

Around 1991, while the Tomlinson review into the relationship between the NHS and medical education in London was underway, Cameron entered into talks with King’s about a further merger, as originally suggested by Flowers.

Successfully integrating Guy’s and St Thomas’ – two schools with long histories and distinct identities – was a challenge, but adding King’s College London medical school to the mix required both political savvy and smarts. strategic. The merger was successfully completed in 1998 and the school, now GKT School of Medical Education, is ranked 8th in the world.

The younger of two children, Ian Rennell Cameron was born in London on May 29, 1936 to James Cameron, an insurance broker, and his wife Frances.

He was educated at Westminster School and Corpus Christi, Oxford, where he developed a passion for fencing, competing for England and winning the University Epee Championships.

After obtaining a first in medicine, he did his postgraduate clinical training at St Thomas’, where he remained after graduating in 1961 to pursue a career combining research and general and respiratory medicine.

His academic research has focused on respiratory physiology, asthma, breath control, hypoxemia, pulmonary circulation – and also medical education.

Among other things, he has developed best practice guidelines for the management of patients with respiratory failure, particularly those who accumulate carbon dioxide due to inadequate ventilation of the lungs.

He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998.

Cameron was an inspired teacher, not only in his areas of expertise, but also in broader aspects of medicine.

Students and colleagues remember his lectures on acid-base balance (crucial for normal physiology in the body), which he illustrated with images including the CO2 bubbles created by placing a slice of lemon on a glass of gin tonic, conveying a difficult subject with erudition, simplicity – and spirit.

Cameron was an exceptional mentor to a generation of doctors and, through lectures abroad, including in communist-era Prague, connected with colleagues across Europe and beyond.

In 1994 Cameron was appointed Provost and then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales College of Medicine, helping to build its reputation in teaching and research. He retained his links with London as a council member of King’s College London and was appointed CBE in 1999.

From 2001 to 2007, he was President of Enfis, a designer and manufacturer of high-power intelligent LED lighting which sought to apply its technologies to medical equipment.

Outside of medicine, Cameron had extensive knowledge of opera, poetry, art history, art, and ceramics. In retirement, he set up a paint joint venture in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Ian Cameron first married, in 1964, Jayne Bustard, with whom he had a son and a daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1978 and in 1980 he married, secondly, Jenny Cowin, who predeceased him.

Ian Cameron, born May 20, 1936, died March 10, 2022


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