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BMJ. 2007 May 5; 334(7600): 959.
PMCID: PMC1865448

Geoffrey Battersby Barker

Former consultant psychiatrist Tooting Bec and St Thomas' Hospitals (b 1919; q Cambridge/Westminster Hospital 1943; MA Cantab 1945, DPM Eng, FRCPsych), died from myeloma in Exeter Hospital on 1 December 2006.

As soon as Geoffrey qualified he was immersed into war-torn London, where he worked in a neurological team at the Atkinson Morley dealing with head injuries from the D-Day Landings under Wylie McKissock.

He then went on to specialise in psychiatry, in 1948 joining Tooting Bec Hospital, where he began his extraordinarily dedicated and distinguished career as a pioneer in his chosen field. He introduced an open-door policy in the day hospital and took great pride in the many innovative treatments he set up, including the Art Therapy Department. He specialised in women's mental health and drug abuse, and during 1967-72 was medical administrator.

He was a tutor at the Tavistock Clinic and held a child guidance fellowship at Guy's Hospital. He was adviser to the Arts Council, served as chairman of the Dyslexia Teaching Centre, and was a founding member of the Alzheimer's Society. He introduced one of the first counselling courses in the country at the southwest London College in 1972. On his retirement he was granted the status of honorary consultant psychiatrist.

He continued to work with the Alzheimer's Society both nationally and locally in Richmond-upon-Thames, running an Alzheimer's carers group from his home for many years. Until shortly before his death he was responsible for their caring fund. He also worked during this time for MIND, Crossroads, and Carers UK.

He was a kind, caring, and compassionate doctor, with warmth and generosity of spirit, beloved by his patients and family.


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