Death of Gorleston GP who pioneered diving and offshore safety standards


Dr Norman (Nick) McIver a popular GP and the key UK diving physician during the early years of the North Sea oil industry has died aged 76.


Highly decorated and internationally known Dr McIver helped bring a hyperbaric unit to the James Paget Hospital in 1996 - one of a handful in the country - as well as improve diving and offshore safety in the burgeoning sector.

When military techniques were at their limit producing fatalities and paraplegia he challenged procedures, often flying out to diving chambers to resuscitate divers and prescribe drugs to combat injury.

Later he trained diver medics in neurological examinations and practical procedures to speed up diagnosis and treatment.

Meanwhile he continued in his 'day job' as a GP at Gorleston's Central Surgery for 28 years - the foundation of his meticulous clinical skills. He was an early member and later fellow of the newly established Faculty of Occupational Medicine in 1982.

Norman McIver was born in Northampton on August 20 1940.

In 1965 he gained his medical degree at Kings College and Westminster Hospital in London and after hospital jobs started a five year army commission becoming a regimental medical officer for the Gurkhas in Hong Kong and Brunei.

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After establishing his diving medicine in the Southern Gas fields, the North Sea Oil fields required another step change in the deeper waters off Aberdeen.

He was diving medical consultant to the top UK, American and Norwegian oil and construction companies and supported many diving projects in the Far and Middle East remotely.

He was secretary of the crucial Diving Medical Advisory Committee which was set to raise standards and agree safety policies across the new offshore diving industry.

He was involved in developing the standards for statutory diving medicals over decades which are the cornerstone for prevention of diving accidents offshore.

In 1981 he was awarded the Craig Hoffman award for his contribution to diving safety by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society USA.

Later in 1991 he became an Officer of the Order of St John and became OBE in 2005. In 1995 the Swedish Navy awarded him a medal for his research with them.

He was also a founder member of the British Hyperbaric Association in 1993 which set standards for NHS chambers throughout the UK.

He was elected president of his local BMA division in 1990 and retired from General Practice as the senior partner in Gorleston in 2000. He continued occupational medicine consultancy until 2006.

He bore his final neurological illness with great dignity and fortitude. He leaves his wife Rita, three children Catherine, Bruce and Joni and three grandchildren Tabatha, Josh and Fin.

There will be a celebration of his life at the Pier Hotel, Gorleston on Friday, October 28 at 12.30pm for family, colleagues and friends.