In Memoriam Dr. Peter Morris: 1933 – 2016
Peter Morris was born in Skegness on 1st January 1933 and was fond of saying it was the first and only thing of significance that occurred in Skegness that year. He spent his early years in Skegness where his father was a hotelier and business man. However, the family moved out of the hotel at the outbreak of the Second World War as the building was required for a military hospital, and Peter spent most of his childhood years in St Helens, Lancashire. Here he was to be educated at West Park Grammar School before entering Manchester University to study medicine.
After graduation in 1956, he undertook house officer posts in Manchester and Lancaster and subsequently undertook senior hour officer posts in obstetrics, anaesthetics and paediatrics intending a career in general practice. Following a year as an assistant general practitioner in Lancaster, he undertook 18 months training in anaesthesia as a senior house officer at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, passed the Diploma in Anaesthesia examination and continued for several years as a general practitioner and part time clinical assistant with sessions at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and the School Dental Service. During this period it became clear that Peter had an aptitude for anaesthesia and encourage by a senior surgical colleague, Mr Granville Freeman, he decided to make anaesthesia his definitive career. He took and passed the Primary FFARCS examination, while still in general practice, and in September 1964 he joined the Manchester training scheme. He passed the final FFARCS examination in 1965 and was appointed consultant anaesthetist at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in 1967.
As the first anaesthetist in full time paediatric practice in Manchester, Peter took the lead in developing paediatric anaesthesia services, including anaesthesia for open heart surgery, which led to the development of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. In addition to his clinical work he undertook and collaborated on a number of clinical and non-clinical research projects notably as a visiting fellow and subsequently visiting professor to the University of Salford Department of Aeronautic and Mechanical Engineering from 1971-1995. He was recognised as a gifted lecturer and received numerous national and international invitations.
Peter joined the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (APA) at its foundation in 1973. Six years later he was elected onto Council where he served as Representative for England and Wales from 1979 to 1984, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer from 1984 to 1987 and President from 1991to 1993. As President he was an early advocate of widening the membership of the APA to include general anaesthetists with an interest in paediatric anaesthesia. In 1997 he was made an honorary member of the APA. Peter excelled as an administrator and in retirement he was co-opted onto the APA Council to advise on administrative and constitutional matters, including changing the APA from a registered charity to a charitable company limited by guarantee.
In 1992 he became a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Associations of Paediatric Anaesthesia (FEAPA) and served as its Treasurer from 1997 to 2005. During this time Peter played a major role in the development of the influential FEAPA Guidelines for Training in Anaesthesia, which set out minimum standards of training for anaesthetists involved in the care of children. He also served on the Scientific Committees of several FEAPA symposiums and the quadrennial FEAPA congresses in Helsinki, 2001, and Cologne, 2005. He was awarded Diploma of Honour of the Federation in 2007.
In addition to his work for the APA and FEAPA, Peter was elected to the council of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland in 1982 where he served as Secretary from 1986 to 1988 and Vice President from 1989 to 1991. He organised several national meetings and oversaw the activities of the Group of Anaesthetists in Training. In 1984 he became an examiner for Part I of the then FFARCS examination and from 1988 to 1996 he was an elected member of the Board of the Faculty of Anaesthetists during its transition to a College in 1988 and ultimately to the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 1993. From 1991 to 1996 he chaired the Board of Examiners for Part I of the FRCA examination. He held the posts of Secretary of the Joint Committee for Higher Training of Anaesthetist from 1991 to 1994 and Vice President of the College from 1993 to 1995.
With his death, paediatric anaesthesia has lost a potent advocate and ambassador who will be remembered by his friends for his wisdom, loyalty, generosity and mischievous good humour. Peter is survived by his partner Barbara, daughter Helen, son Alistair and grandchildren, Ben and Daniel.