Graham Bracewell: Doctor was founder of Suffolk Accident Rescue Service

Dr Graham Bracewell, former GP in Wrentham

Dr Graham Bracewell, former GP in Wrentham - Credit: Submitted

A founder of the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service and a family doctor, Graham Bracewell, died peacefully aged 91 on Christmas Eve.

As a GP in north Suffolk, he appreciated the importance of early response to medical emergencies by mobilising local expertise, especially in remote and rural areas.

The Suffolk Accident Rescue Service – one of the first in the region – was formally launched on May 1, 1972 after many meetings with fellow doctors, emergency services and the local health authorities.

Within 20 years, it had a membership of more than 170 doctors.

As the National Health Service changed contracts and particularly with the diminished out-of-hours GP cover, the membership gradually declined.

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The concept of pre-hospital or immediate care had been proposed by a North Yorkshire doctor, Kenneth Easton, and implemented in 1967. Dr Bracewell had been quick to appreciate the advantages for his rural county of Suffolk.

For more than 30 years, he was in practice at Wrentham and later at the Kessingland surgery in Field Lane.

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He became senior partner in 1965, having followed his father into the practice in 1951 and was an active GP committee member of the district management team from 1974.

Born in London, he went to Taverham Hall School, near Norwich, and then Rugby.

He studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, where he also met his wife, Pamela.

By coincidence, his father, who also trained at Bart's, met and married his wife at the same hospital.

After national service, he returned to Suffolk in the early 1950s, where running a small GP practice was a 24/7 operation.

The back door to his home at Wrentham was never locked as he treated patients, sometimes sewing up injuries and even on occasion, walking across fields to visit patients without road access. He also delivered many babies in his years in practice.

Always prepared to innovate, he was one of the first to recruit a practice manager and later helped to offer vocational training to would-be GPs.

He also served in the fracture clinics at the Lowestoft and Gorleston Hospitals and in the orthopaedic department at Ipswich Hospital and had a long-term association with the management of Southwold District Hospital.

When he retired in March 1983, he was presented with a painting of his then home, Wrentham House, by the parish council.

Three years later, he moved to Wangford to the same house where he had lived as a newly-qualified GP.

A keen skier, he also liked camping and walking and for many years had a cottage in France.

He was 88 when he drove his caravan to the south of France to a camp site in the Pyrenees for a walking holiday.

Shortly afterwards, he had a stroke and his health had gradually declined.

After his wife's death 24 years ago, he married again and is survived by his wife Jenny.

He leaves a son, Christopher, and daughter, Sally, four grandchildren and a great grandson.

A funeral service will be held at Wangford Parish Church on Monday, January 13 at 11am.

Michael Pollitt

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