Designatory Letters: 
MB BS London, LRCP MRCS London

James Willis was born in Dublin and educated at Stonyhurst and Guy’s Hospital Medical School where he qualified MBBS in 1954. After house appointments at Guy’s and and Pembury Hospitals, he became MRCP Edin in 1960 and was elected to the Fellowship in 1972. He was trained as a psychiatrist at Guys and the Maudsley and in 1964 appointed psychiatrist at Stone House Hospital Dartford. He was elected a foundation member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1971 and Fellow in 1973. Thereafter he was a consultant at Warlingham Park Hospital and later at Guy’s and Bexley Hospitals where he started the Drug Dependency Service in 1967.

In 1976 he left the NHS when he was appointed Head of Psychiatry at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh – a welcome return to general psychiatry and neurology after over exposure to the problems of drug users – remaining in Saudi Arabia until the death of his first wife Muriel in 1984. He returned to Drug Dependency in Liverpool in 1985 and retired in 1987.

Other appointments included WHO European Regional Consultant (1973), Director of Education at Pilgrim State Hospital, Long Island NY 1969-1970 and visiting Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins in 1982. In 1964 his first book, Lecture Notes in Psychiatry was published by Blackwell Science. It ran to seven editions during his authorship and is still going strong: having been translated into Arabic and Portuguese plus a pirated translation in Farsi! He also wrote three books on Substance Abuse and chapters in six other books in which he had trained at Guys and at The Maudlsey.

As far as he was concerned Psychiatry ceased to have credibility when divorced from medicine. Patients were patients, not clients. After retirement he wrote six novels which enjoyed modest success. He is survived by his second wife June, his son and daughter and three grandchildren. He often said that he would wish to be remembered as someone who had tried to do the best for his patients. He believed that the practice of medicine should never be allowed to become occupational therapy for doctors.