BM BCh Oxon (1958), MRCP London (1962), DM (1971), FRCP (1976)
b. March 1934 d. 24 April 2020
Barry Hoffbrand was born in Bradford to Philip and Minnie (née Freedman) Hoffbrand, both from Jewish immigrant families originally from Eastern Europe. He went to Bradford Grammar School before going up to The Queen’s College Oxford in 1952-56 to read Medicine. Clinical training at University College Hospital (UCH) Medical School (1956-8) followed and he gained prizes in Clinical Pathology and Haematology. Apart from 12 months working at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford, his postgraduate clinical training was mostly at UCH where he was Max (later Lord) Rosenheim’s house physician, concluding with a year spent as a Senior Research Fellow at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California Medical Centre 1967-68. Barry’s research was in acute cardiovascular physiology and lead to his DM awarded by Oxford University in 1971.
Barry was appointed Consultant Physician at the Whittington Hospital, and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at UCH Medical School, in 1970. His interests were in General Medicine, Hypertension and Nephrology. He was an astute clinician and a fine general physician. He created a very effective Nephrology Department, maintaining an interest in both medical science and clinical teaching. Although Barry retired in 1999, he remained active on behalf of the hospital; from 2009-2015, he was Founding Chairman of the Whittington Hospital Organ Donation Committee.
He was highly respected by medical and nursing colleagues for the standards of care he expected for patients. He was renowned for his encyclopaedic knowledge and diagnostic acumen; if there was a patient with an elusive diagnosis, Barry would be asked to advise. He was a highly sought-after medical opinion before and after retirement.
He believed that high quality training was essential to providing the best patient care and for staff recruitment. With Peter Davies, Eric Beck and David Patterson, Barry helped establish and run the nationally renowned Whittington Hospital MRCP course. Attending this course and then passing the MRCP became a ‘badge of honour’ for a generation of trainees across London during this period. Barry took his own role as a trainer very seriously, including mentoring trainees to ‘write up’ and publish clinical research and learning from clinical practice. As a result, his ‘renal registrar’ post at the Whittington was a highly desirable job; and consultant care, across a range of specialities continues to be influenced by his teaching, including renal, diabetes, neurology and respiratory medicine.
In addition to local roles as Clinical Tutor and Director (1975-81) and Chairman (1985-87) of the Whittington Hospital Academic Centre, Barry contributed to the UCL Academic Board, University of London Examination Board and numerous regional postgraduate committees, including the Regional Health Authority, the Royal College of Physicians and chairmanship of the North East Thames Higher Medical Training Committee.
Barry authored a broad range of clinical papers from 1963 to 1999, many based on clinical practice and his recognition of novel conditions and presentations, including co-authorship of a Nature Genetics paper in 1999, describing a genetic mutation responsible for renal tubular acidosis with sensorineural deafness.
He made a major national contribution to postgraduate medical education. He was the editor of the Postgraduate Medical Journal for 14 years (1980-94), a journal whose content he was committed to shaping over a 30-year period (1973-2002). Barry contributed nationally as an examiner and Councillor of the Royal College of Physicians, Vice-President of the Royal Society of Medicine and President of the Harveian Society of London, in addition to his roles for the Postgraduate Medical Journal. Additional roles include Editor of The Apothecary, President of the London Jewish Medical Society and Chairman of the Medical Committee of the Italian Hospital in Queen Square.
Barry was a passionate man who was not afraid to speak his mind, and when relevant write letters to the local and national press. He felt strongly about Israel, anti-Semitism, Brexit and the NHS. He was an effective and passionate advocate and campaigner for the Whittington and for investment in its services – emphasising its role as an important local acute hospital and one which contributes importantly to the training and education of junior doctors.
Following retirement, Barry was able to devote more time to art and historical interests. He developed his creative side and studied at the Hampstead School of Art, producing many superb paintings and sketches. He developed an interest in Art History; he researched and published articles and lectured frequently on such subjects as the roles played by doctors depicted in 17th and 18th century paintings, and the Huguenot physicians who had fled from France to England. He loved music, particularly chamber music and opera, and was frequently to be found at the Wigmore Hall.
Barry is survived by his wife Marina Morduch (a fellow UCH student and now retired psychiatrist) who he married in in 1961, and by his daughters Sara (a UCL graduate and general practitioner with MRCP), Julia and Rachel, his seven grandchildren (including Hannah, a third generation UCL medical graduate) and his younger brother Victor (retired Professor of Haematology).