Richly-deserved knighthood for Prof. Ritchie

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A PETERHEAD GP has been awarded a Knighthood in the New Years Honours List.

Professor Lewis D. Ritchie OBE is James Mackenzie Professor of General Practice at the University of Aberdeen, a serving general practitioner at Peterhead Health Centre and Community Hospital, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Grampian.

Commenting on his honour, Professor Ritchie said he felt very humbled to be recognised.

“It has been a great privilege to serve NHS Scotland in a number of capacities and to assist the development of healthcare services and better ways of caring for patients and preventing illness,” he said.

“I am conscious of how much my contributions have crucially depended on the steadfast support of my family and by very many colleagues throughout Scotland, beginning in my practice at Peterhead and the Centre of Academic Primary Care at the University of Aberdeen.

“This award says less about my own endeavours and speaks more about the collective achievements of colleagues working on behalf of NHS Scotland. I am particularly mindful at this festive time, of the magnificent commitment of all frontline healthcare workers and support staff”.

Professor Ritchie (58), was born, brought up and stays in Fraserburgh. He holds degrees in Chemistry and Medicine from the University of Aberdeen (BSc, MBChB, MD) and Community Medicine from the University of Edinburgh (MSc).

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Faculty of Public Health and the British Computer Society. He undertook vocational training in both general practice and in public health medicine.

For the past 30 years he has served as a general practitioner at Peterhead, where he is presently senior partner.

In 1984, he joined the staff of the Department of General Practice at the University of Aberdeen as a part-time Lecturer and since 1987 has also been a Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Grampian.

In 1992, he was appointed to the James Mackenzie Chair of General Practice at the University of Aberdeen and Head of Department. Under his leadership, the department grew into one of the largest multidisciplinary units in the UK, with an international reputation for research excellence and exemplary teaching.

He has written many publications, including the book: Computers in Primary Care. He has led and chaired a number of national committees and reports including: computers/eHealth, research, immunisation, community hospitals, cardiovascular prevention/management, community pharmacy, academic GP careers, and promoting professionalism and excellence in medicine.

Professor Ritchie presently chairs the Scottish Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (SMASAC) and previously chaired the Biomedical and Therapeutic Research Committee of the Chief Scientist Office (BTRC).

He led the national implementation of the Meningococcal C and the Adult Pneumococcal Immunisation Programmes in Scotland and recently chaired the Service Delivery Group of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Immunisation Programme. He and his team pioneered the use of computers for cardiovascular prevention and telemedicine links from Peterhead Community Hospital. He has contributed to innovative telecare service developments throughout Scotland, including NHS 24.

Professor Ritchie has received a number of professional awards for his contributions, including the Stokoe Award of the Royal College of General Practitioners UK, the John Perry Prize of the British Computer Society and the Eric Elder Medal of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

In 2010, he was awarded the James Mackenzie Lecture and Medal of the Royal College of General Practitioners UK and the Provost Medal of the North East Scotland Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

In 2001, he was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to general practice and primary care in Scotland.

He is married to Heather, and his interests outside medicine include: church, classical music, arts appreciation and dog walking.