BGS Presidents - Biographical Sketches: Peter Crome

Biographical Sketch Peter Crome

President of the British Geriatrics Society 2006 - 2008

When I was a medical student at King’s there was no formal teaching in geriatric medicine, just a couple of visits to St Francis Hospital on the introductory clinical course where we were shown patients with neuro-degenerative conditions. On qualifying I had originally intended to be a GP but whilst working as a SHO in medicine I was persuaded by my boss to sit Part 1 MRCP. Success at first attempt in both parts of the membership led to the Guy’s Medical Rotation where in my first year I also worked with Denis Hyams in the geriatric medicine service at New Cross. This was followed by two years as Registrar in Clinical Toxicology in the Poisons Unit where I undertook research on antidepressant poisoning for the MD. The Poisons Unit also undertook therapeutic drug monitoring and it was a natural progression to move into geriatrics at Senior Registrar level and to continue research in clinical pharmacology in old age. Most of my training was at Guy’s but I also worked in Hastings with Dr RE Irvine with whom I remained in regular contact until his death.

Having failed to obtain Consultant posts in London Teaching Hospitals I was appointed as the sole geriatrician at Orpington Hospital where I had responsibility for over 200 patients, most them continuing care. However applying the principles of geriatric assessment and rehabilitation swiftly emptied the beds so that the unit became one of the most active in the Region. In this task I was helped by the example set by Carol Foster who worked next door in Sidcup. I started a research unit, set up orthopaedic rehabilitation and with Lalit Kalra undertook seminal studies in stroke rehabilitation. I also spent six months in Canada as Head of Geriatrics at the University of Saskatchewan. At that time it became clear that a path to a Chair required spending some time as a Senior Lecturer and I joined Cameron Swift at King’s whilst retaining my clinical base at Orpington. I completed my PhD in pharmacokinetics in older people. I was also an Honorary Consultant at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals.

In 1994 I moved to Keele as Foundation Professor in Geriatric Medicine. The environment was not conducive to pharmacology research and so my focus switched to other areas. I established a memory clinic and a stroke unit. I was joined by Christine Roffe as Senior Lecturer (now Professor) who took over running the stroke unit after a few years. The Trust acts as host for the West Midlands Regional Stroke Research Network. One of the pleasures of the post has been supervising therapists undertaking PhD studies. I have undertaken projects in a wide range of subjects and edited two books, one on Pain and one on Drug Treatment. I am currently collaborating with my wife, Professor Ilana Crome, on a book on addiction in later life, a subject that will grow in importance. I also established and led the MSc in Geriatric Medicine for 12 years.

After a few years I became involved in University administration and served on Council and Senate. I was Head of Postgraduate Courses in the Medical School, Head of Postgraduate Medicine (Research) and Head of the Medical School. I represented the University on the SHA.

In 2009 I became Director of Research and Development for the Trust and served once again as Clinical Director. As of 2011 I continue with a portfolio of clinical and academic activities including Chairing the National Audit of Dementia, serving on NICE committees and serving for a second term as Secretary-General of the IAGG-ER Clinical Section.

Peter Crome MD PhD DSc FRCP (Lond, Edin and Glasg) FFPM. Consultant Geriatrician, Orpington Hospital 1981-1991. Senior Lecturer, King’s College London 1991-1994. Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Keele University 1994-. President, British Geriatrics Society, 2006-2008.