Obituary: Dr Ian Allison, 84

: Ian Allison had a long and distinguished medical career. Picture: contributed
: Ian Allison had a long and distinguished medical career. Picture: contributed
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IAN Allison, an Edinburgh GP who was a pioneer in community diabetes care, has died, aged 84.

Mr Allison was instrumental in encouraging those affected with the disease to take blood and sugar samples for themselves. Ironically during one of his demonstrations to a patient he discovered that he too was affected.

Born in Edinburgh in 1929, Ian was the first son of John and Nan Allison (nee Paterson-Brown). He attended Belhaven Hill and Merchiston Castle schools, and then went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read medicine and on to the London Hospital.

On graduation, he returned to Edinburgh to take up a position as house physician to Sir Derrick Dunlop in the Royal Infirmary. He later joined Dr John Halliday-Croom’s general medical wards in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he prepared for the membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, which he passed, with a special emphasis in endocrinology and diabetes, in July 1960.

He was persuaded by his father to join him in the Morningside practice, and also stayed on as a part-time member of Dr Halliday-Croom’s outpatient team, caring for patients with diabetes. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1971.

In 1962 Ian married Patricia Johnston, the daughter of a Scottish judge.

Patricia had read history at Oxford and, after the couple had three wonderful daughters, she became a respected, long-serving teacher of history and politics at St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh.

In 1964 Ian’s father died and he moved from the Morningside practice to the Beaufort Road practice in the Grange, where he worked until his retirement in 1991.

He also served the wider community of patients through his work in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Diabetic Outpatient Clinic.

Ian was particularly proud when he was invited to be the Merchiston Castle School doctor. He served the school for 25 years in this capacity.

Soon after retirement in 1991, Ian and Patricia moved from their Morningside Home to Nine Mile Burn. This intensely rural Pentlands Hill setting triggered off a whole range of new activities: he became a keen vegetable gardener and active participant in a host of local community affairs.

He was a founding member of an Eco Group and a fair trade stall at a monthly Community Market.

He was a lifelong, committed Christian, an enthusiastic gardener, a maker of friends and a skilful fly fisherman. He was a “dad in a million” and his unusual sense of humour brought much fun into the lives of many of his patients, family, friends and fishing companions.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, their three daughters Sally, Gillian and Lesley, and seven grandchildren.