Brian Payne: Norwich consultant transformed care for the elderly

A consultant in geriatric medicine, Dr Brian Payne, who built up one of the country's largest specialities at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, has died aged 66.

Widely respected across the Eastern Counties by fellow medical professionals, he transformed care for the elderly, which had always been regarded for several decades as the 'poor relation' in the National Health Service.

A team, which was headed by Dr Wylie Beattie, and supported by Dr Robert Fulcher and Dr Magdi Naguib, built on the foundations of an energetic and progressive Department of Medicine for the Elderly.

He was responsible for major improvements throughout the whole discipline and worked enthusiastically to promote more training for this area of medicine.

In addition, he also worked most Saturday mornings and often Sundays too keep abreast of professional developments and reading journals.

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Born in London, he read medicine at Gonville & Caius, Cambridge, and then completed his training at the Middlesex Hospital, London.

After qualifying, he returned to Cambridge and in 1978 was appointed a consultant in geriatric medicine at Norwich, where he also worked at St Michael's Hospital, Aylsham.

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Initially based at the former West Norwich Hospital, and with a single ward at the old Norfolk & Norwich, it was to migrate to the new site as a dynamic and driven facility offering both acute and specialist care.

It is now one of the third largest in the country and is one of the biggest departments at the hospital.

Retired Norwich consultant Alan Green rated him as one 'one of the finest physicians in Norfolk in an age of super-specialisation'.

In a bitter irony, Dr Payne, who delivered the highest standards of medical care to so many patients aged over 75, was diagnosed with cancer about eight years ago.

As his illness became more serious, he was always quite open about his treatment and the likely outcome.

A man of great intellect, and well educated in many areas, he was fond of reading and also classical musical, attending concerts and recitals across East Anglia and further afield.

As a veteran rower, he also encouraged others at the hospital to take up the sport.

He leaves a widow, Margaret, a son and two daughters and an 18-month-old grandchild.

A funeral service has been held at Eaton Christ Church in Church Avenue.

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