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Obituary: Tom Smith

A Scot until the day he died Tom Smith qualified in Glasgow at the beginning of the Second World War. He then saw service in destroyers on Atlantic and Arctic convoys. His Training posts included House Officer, Registrar and Lecturer post at the Jessop Hospital in Sheffield but his first Consultant post was in Scotland. It was not long before he returned to the Jessop Hospital in Sheffield when a Consultant post became available in 1953.

At a time when Consultants were more interested in Gynaecology Tom had a major interest in Obstetrics. The Peel report in 1963 recommended that facilities be available for 70% of births in hospital. At that time Sheffield was well short of that and Tom was instrumental in the development of an ‘off the shelf’ hospital rather that wait for a new hospital. The new unit at Nether Edge was opened in 1968 at the peak of the birth rate and 90% of births could then take place in hospital. By the time he retired all the small maternity homes had closed and a hospital delivery was available to all.

He developed a very large practice and would always attend no matter what time of day or night. He was highly respected by patients and staff and was regarded as tough but fair. He was a wise and respected counsellor who helped to steer the hospital services in Sheffield through the early years of the NHS. He chaired many committees throughout the Trent Region. He was a diligent first Chairman of the Hospital Recognition Committee and Member of Council from 1972-75 and visited Australia as a College Examiner in 1974.

As a boy he played golf but he always said that he did not have the time as a Consultant. He did however have one of the best kept gardens in Sheffield. He had a close family with 3 children one of whom is a doctor.

When he retired he burnt all his private practice notes and moved to Chesterfield where he cultivated a huge garden for 20 years. He remained in robust health until his last year.