“It is the ability and not the disability that matters.” 

This was just one of Dr VHR Krishnan’s personal philosophies that he held close to his heart as a psychiatrist.

A lifelong advocate for equality, he dedicated himself to the NHS and strived to improve the lives of thousands of patients, their families, and carers.

The middle child of five siblings, Vallepur Hanumanthappa Rama Krishnan was born on October 30, 1951, in Bangalore, India.  

Pushing through limitations of the Indian caste system, he completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS) in 1975 at the medical college at Bangalore University.  

Eastern Daily Press: Dr VHR Krishnan

He placed first in his final year exams, receiving seven gold medals in his MBBS studies. It is no surprise that he was named best outgoing medical student. 

In 1976, he began working in psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, also in Bangalore, and obtained his Psychological Medicine diploma.

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After working in hospitals and prisons across India, he moved across the globe to Northern Ireland in 1980. 

He had planned to study for the M.R.C.Psych examinations and return to India but he fell in love with the United Kingdom and the NHS.

His wife joined him, and they remained. 

In 1984, he moved to Scotland, and then to Wales in 1988. By January 1989, he was living in England and settled in Norfolk soon after.

From 1993, he worked as a consultant in developmental neuropsychiatry and psychiatry of learning disabilities where he implemented many changes to give his service users more dignity and independence. 

He had a special interest in challenging behaviour and behaviour-phenotype psychiatry and worked for the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at Little Plumstead Hospital, Norwich

Eastern Daily Press: Dr VHR Krishnan and his family

He retired in 2015 but continued to work as a locum. 

During his career he published around 25 papers and was a member of several societies, including the British Institute of Learning Disabilities and the National Autistic Society UK.  

He was a founding member of clinical and research network Research in Developmental Neuropsychiatry, abbreviated to RADiANT, and also lectured at the University of East Anglia’s medical school and Cambridge University. 

At the time of his death, he was working as a consultant neuropsychiatrist with the north Norfolk community learning disability team. 

A former colleague, Dr Regi Alexander, said: “He spent his entire consultant career in the NHS working in Norfolk, participating in and driving many changes in the field of learning disability over the last 30 years or so.  

“Passionately committed, he was a diligent and meticulous clinician who had an endearingly old-fashioned ability to speak truth to power, however unpalatable that truth was.”

Former colleagues at Little Plumstead also remember his kindness, patience, humility, and never-ending empathy towards his patients.  

He has been described in tributes as "irreplaceable", "the best medical professional", "work dad" and “the very heart” of Little Plumstead.

Away from his career, he was an avid handyperson who enjoyed all kinds of DIY. He was also a keen photographer, gardener, and loved keeping up with the latest computer technology. 

Eastern Daily Press: Dr VHR Krishnan spent his entire consultant career with the NHS

Remembering him, his children said: “Dad pushed through so many barriers to become a consultant neuropsychiatrist 

“His motto was ‘never, ever give up’ and he told us this whenever we were going through hardships or troubles.  

“We couldn’t be prouder to have had him as our dad; he gave us everything, he helped everyone, and he never expected anything in return. 

“His values will live on through his family, colleagues, and trainees.”  

Dr Krishnan died at home on September 28 aged 71.  

He leaves behind his wife and children; Rajaneesh, Rajesh, and twins Chandini (Dena) and Shalini (Shalu).