Friends remember a popular family doctor

Dr Aylett
Dr Aylett

A DOCTOR, who worked as a GP in north Northumberland for 17 years, has died suddenly in hospital.

Dr Malcolm Aylett, who was a single-handed GP at Glendale Surgery in Wooler from 1979 to 1996, died in Bristol on Saturday, January 14.

Early in his career, Dr. Aylett served in the Army in Hong Kong, with Shell in Sumatra and then with the Tanzanian government. He was in family practice in Wiltshire before coming to Wooler with his family in 1979.

A popular family doctor, he was a pioneer in the organisation of medical records as well as in the training of young GPs, who were inspired by his teaching of the importance of continuity of patient care.

In 1981, his practice became the first in Northumberland to have its medical records fully computerised and, later, the first in the country to use the Meditel clinical system.

He was appointed Northumberland Health Authority’s computer facilitator, travelling throughout the region helping practices to reorganise their records.

His research on the management of high blood pressure, especially of white coat hypertension, has been of national importance and published widely in many countries.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1987 and later awarded the Jones Medal for outstanding research. He continued this work after his retirement, achieving his MD in his 65th year.

Among his many other interests, he obtained an A-Level in archaeology in 1992 and went on to teach in WEA and U3A courses, publishing a successful book on archaeological walks in the Cheviots.

He helped to found the Border Archaeological Society in 1997 and became chairman three years later, a post which he held until he moved to Bath in 2002. He built up the Society into a vibrant organisation and initiated a number of its successful projects, particularly the excavation at Scald Hill and the nunnery at Bondington.

He also enjoyed singing and was chairman of the Wooler Choral Society.

Before moving south, he led a Millennium project on the restoration of the War Memorial and remains of the castle at The Tory in Church Street, involving the parish council, the Royal British Legion and English Heritage.

In Bath, he kept up his involvement with archaeology, working on Roman projects and the restoration of the Jewish burial ground in the city.

He enjoyed annual revisits to Wooler to examine the latest dig and visit his many friends in the area, by whom he will be sadly missed.