Obituary: Professor Peter Campion, General Practitioner and academic

27 January 2022
A past foundation chair in general practice at the University of Hull and highly regarded academic, Professor Peter Campion was instrumental in the establishment and development of Hull York Medical School. 

In 1968, as a medical student at Oxford, Peter's first paper appeared in 'Nature'. Over the subsequent fifty years his clinical academic outputs were wide-ranging covering general practice, communication skills, chronic fatigue, dementia and community pharmacy.  

While a lecturer at Dundee, he researched consultation issues, first studying aspects of illness behaviour in mothers with young children, and later completing a Sociology PhD at Liverpool on conversation analysis. As foundation chair in general practice at the University of Hull, he focused on the establishment and development of the new Hull York Medical School with which he was intimately involved, developing a novel curriculum in which problem based learning and communication and consultation skills were prominent.  His work in the development of the Hull York Medical School reflected his enthusiasm for and expertise in medical education, and he cared deeply about equipping medical students with the skills and knowledge required for modern medical practice.  His contribution to the ethos of the Hull York Medical School is clear from accounts of its early development.  

In addition, he was closely involved with the Royal College of General Practitioners and became a Reader in the Church of England too. He enjoyed opportunities to preach at his local church but above all his Christian faith shone through his clinical practice especially in the respect he gave to patients and colleagues alike. 

At heart, Peter was an old-fashioned academic with a breadth of interests and a phenomenal general knowledge.  In 2020 his final book  'Peter's Poems: Poetry from a Christian GP' was published. He worked as a general practitioner from the mid-1970s, always choosing to practise with challenging communities – including the socially excluded and asylum seekers.  He was thoughtful, kind and gracious in his interactions with students, colleagues and patients.   

Following his retirement from the University of Hull he moved to Sheffield, but his last years were marred by the premature death of this wife, Janet, and the development of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. He loved music and had played the French Horn in orchestras, both the piano and organ in churches and most recently sang in a local choir.  He also enjoyed wood turning in his retirement, joining a local club in Sheffield. He is survived by four children (two sons who followed him into medicine and two daughters who are academics) and eight grandchildren.  

This obituary was written by Professor Una Macleod and Dr Nicholas Summerton and was published in the BMJ on 18 January 2022. BMJ 2022;376:094