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ALASTAIR SHORT

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					ALASTAIR SHORT
                                No one could have predicted the events that followed
                                shortly after the publication of the last edition of hoolet. In
                                June 2003 we were stunned at the news of the untimely
                                death of the College in Scotland’s Chair Elect, Alastair
                                Short. By pure coincidence hoolet had just featured an
                                interview with Alastair, who was due to take up the post
                                of Chairman in November.

                                His colleagues David Blair, Stuart Murray, Lewis Reay
                                and Iain Wallace wrote about Alastair in an obituary that
                                was published in the Glasgow Herald, part of which is
                                reproduced here for members who may not have had a
                                chance to see it.

                                Alastair was a much-loved GP and well-respected
colleague. He was beginning to reacquaint himself with the working of the College and
was looking forward to the task ahead of him. We are all sorry that he will not have the
opportunity to put his thoughts and ideas into action.

Alastair Short was a highly respected and much-loved general practitioner in Anniesland,
Glasgow. He died as the result of an accident at the end of a wonderful day when he had
successfully climbed Mont Blanc.

Alastair graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1977 and completed his
vocational training for general practice in Glasgow West district. He had a brief spell as a
general practitioner in Derbyshire before returning to Glasgow in 1983. He cared deeply
about quality of care to patients. He quickly became involved with the Royal College of
General Practitioners and was elected honorary secretary of the West of Scotland faculty
in 1985. Through his work with the college and his involvement in GP training, Alastair
developed an interest in quality assurance in general practice. This resulted in a Master of
Public Health degree in 1993.

Alastair was also able to influence patient care in an even wider sphere through his
appointment as divisional medical director of Glasgow Community and Primary Care
NHS Trust and as assistant director of postgraduate GP education in the West of
Scotland. He was instrumental in taking forward a number of clinical governance
initiatives, including the successful introduction of practice-based accreditation in the
Trust.

Alastair led by example and set himself the highest standards. He was elected a fellow of
the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1991. He was awarded an MBE in 2001 for
his services to medicine in Scotland. He was to have been the next chairman of RCGP
Scotland.
Throughout his career, he remained curious about all aspects of medicine and he enjoyed
his clinical practice. He was at the forefront of training future doctors, introducing the
culture of clinical audit and other quality assurance measures into routine practice,
supporting and mentoring doctors, and instilling his values into many other clinical
service areas in Glasgow and beyond.

He had the gift of statesmanship. He was able to draw out the best in people from all
walks of life, and to earn the support of colleagues from all backgrounds. This did not
happen by chance. He thought deeply about all that he did, and he went out of his way to
understand the views and beliefs of others with humility and compassion.

He was an experienced and careful walker and mountaineer. Achievement on mountains
like Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, or in the Atlas, Pyrenees, the Alps, or in Scotland
went far beyond the physical work needed to reach the top. It was also about valuing the
human spirit to face adversity with tenacity and humanity. Each day was to be enjoyed
and Alastair enjoyed it usually in the company of others. He was an interesting and
amusing companion, often self-depreciating, and very humble.

He is survived by his wife, Alison, also a general practitioner, his daughters, Kirsten and
Jennifer.

				
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