General Practice/Primary Care
Designatory Letters: 
MB Edin 1951, MA Camb 1951, FRCP Edin 1981

Dr Alastair Donald was the archetypal General Practitioner. Born: above his father’s surgery in Leith, his future as a third generation General Practitioner could have been predicted but not his leading role in the renaissance of General Practice in the UK in the 1960’s.

In 1954 he became a Founder Associate of the newly established Royal College of General Practitioners and so embarked on a career in education for this branch of medicine. The key role Alastair played was to harness the disparate and sometimes mercurial talents of others to create and establish high quality postgraduate training programmes for General Practice across the country. Through his Lectureship in the first University Department of General Practice in the world at Edinburgh University, his appointment as the first Postgraduate Adviser in General Practice in South-East Scotland, and his subsequent election as Chairman then President of the Royal College Of General Practitioners, he used his considerable negotiating skills to advance the cause of education in and for General Practice.

His many achievements were recognised by the Honours of OBE in 1982 and CBE in 1992. By the profession he was awarded the James Mackenzie Medal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Hippocrates Medal of the European Society of General Practice, and the Foundation Council Award of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1997, recognising his lifetime of service to the care of his patients and to the advancement of General Practice.

Contributed by EG Buckley