Dr Cameron Lockie MBE, GP and RAF medical officer

Dr Cameron Lockie. Picture: Contributed
Dr Cameron Lockie. Picture: Contributed
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BORN: 14 May, 1938, in Glasgow. Died: 24 January, 2015, in Southam, Warwickshire, aged 76

• Dr Cameron Lockie MBE FRCGP FRCP Edin and Glas FRGS FRSTM, GP and RAF Medical officer

Cameron Lockie was a globe-trotting doctor and GP who developed the world’s first diploma in travel medicine.

His specialism emerged via stints of working abroad plus extensive foreign travel, including his busman’s holidays as a ship’s doctor, and earned him an international reputation.

The Edinburgh-educated medic, who began his career in the RAF and went on to become a long-serving GP, also helped to establish the British Travel Health Association and was recognised for his contribution in his field with the award of both an MBE and fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society.

Andrew Cameron Knight Lockie was born in Glasgow to parents Andrew, an analytical chemist, and his wife Isobel, a children’s author and journalist. He had an older sister Fiona and enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up in Ardrishaig in Argyll, on the banks of the Crinan Canal, cultivating an enduring love of the Scottish countryside, particularly Argyll-shire, which remained a lifelong favourite destination.

He attended the Friends’ School in Wigton, a Quaker boarding school where he was a member of the cadet force and captained rugby and cricket teams. Although he knew he wanted to go into medicine, he had to complete his national service first and in 1957 he was given a commission into the army, becoming immensely proud of one posting in particular when he served as duty officer and guard at Edinburgh Castle.

His two years’ service completed, he embarked on his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh in 1959. With money tight, he applied for an RAF cadetship, which resulted in the RAF sponsoring his studies, and in 1966 he graduated MBchB, having also completed a BSc in pharmacology two years earlier.

By this time he had married Rosemary, a theatre sister whom he had met while working during his degree at Fort William, and after graduating he began a five-year attachment as a medical officer with the RAF. Flt Lt Lockie was initially based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire but when a posting to Cyprus was offered, the couple opted to move abroad.

They spent three years at RAF Akrotiri during a period of much unrest on the island which eventually led to division of the country, into the Turkish Cypriot north and Greek Cypriot south, in 1974.

The family had returned to Scotland in 1972 and rented the former home of writer John Buchan in the village of Broughton, Peebleshire. Lockie’s intention had been to settle in Scotland but with no suitable positions vacant, he took up the offer of a job in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he became a GP for the next 26 years.

During that time he made an enormous contribution to the community locally while also establishing his international reputation as an innovator in travel medicine.

As a partner in a busy training practice serving the town and a wide area of rural Warwickshire, his shared responsibilities included a GP maternity unit and an army camp plus 24-hour on call duties. He also had personal responsibility for gynaecological surgery as a hospital practitioner in Stratford Hospital.

In 1976 he took on the task of reinventing the practice, moving from its home in a terraced house to a new centre on hospital land. He negotiated the purchase of the site and designed a purpose-build medical centre, a feat he later wrote up in an article for the British Medical Journal – A Do It Yourself Medical Centre – before expanding it further with another floor.

The practice became the first GP fund-holding practice in South Warwickshire, an opportunity he seized to improve patient care: he set up a private company within the fund employing local consultants to work at the centre out-of-hours to see and assess urgent problems and clear long waiting lists; he presented the local pathology department with tens of thousands of pounds of savings from a greatly reduced the drugs bill, which bought much-needed equipment to benefit all patients in the area; he also established a British Airways Travel Clinic, ploughing its profits back into patient care.

The practice was also quick to embrace computerisation, going fully paperless by 1998.

Meanwhile, he had already amassed a range of experience of working abroad, including in Nigeria when he was a student and later as a locum in the Middle East.

His time in Cyprus coincided with the Indo Pakistan war of 1971 when he was detailed to set up a mini hospital in an island off Oman and appointed medical officer in charge of medical evacuation from Karachi and Rawalpindi, resulting in a promotion to squadron leader on his return.

For several years he supplemented that experience working during holidays as a ship’s doctor on cruises that took him from the Amazon, Cuba and Russia to Greece, Turkey, the Caribbean, India and the Maldives.

In 1995 he was founder chairman of Travel Health Forum UK and the following year became founder and core tutor of the MSc/diploma in travel medicine at the University of Glasgow, holding the post of honorary clinical senior lecturer and senior fellow (travel medicine) in the department of public health at the university’s medical faculty until 2001.

He retired from his role as founder chairman of the British Travel Health Association around the same time. His last appointment after retiring from general practice was as Professor of Family and Community Health (Personal Visiting Chair) Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.

Throughout his career he contributed to various books and publications and spoke at medical conferences around the world. He was on the editorial board of Practitioner Magazine and co-edited the Textbook of Travel Medicine and Migrant Health, published in 2000, the year after being awarded an MBE for services to healthcare.

In retirement he continued to be involved in overseas medical charity work through Rotary International, notably helping to provide essential supplies and purified drinking water to disaster areas and to organise and fund a visit of Zulu Aids orphans from South Africa.

Lockie, who returned frequently to the Scottish countryside he adored, is survived by Rosemary, his wife of 50 years, their sons Andrew and Angus, daughter Shona, who delighted her father by following him into the profession as a GP, and grandchildren James, Alasdair, Nicholas and Annabel.