Almost a year ago, Dr Geoffrey Marsh MBE, the much loved and respected Norton GP, passed away at the age of 90.

Following his retirement after 34 years at Norton Medical Centre, he dedicated his time to his other passions including writing, gardening, travel and learning Italian. These pastimes led to the publication of a limited edition hardback book for family and friends, and after a little persuasion from his publisher, Sixth Element Publishing, Dr Marsh was working on a paperback version of his book for a wider audience when he died suddenly last February.

His wife Jean took on the task of completing the project last year, and just before Christmas 2021, his book, ‘Northern Roots, a Norton GP Remembers’ was released.

Featuring his memories of the village of Norton upon his arrival in 1959 and anecdotes from his time as a GP, the book gives a delightful insight into family and community medical care in another time. Combined with stories from his time as a medical student, as well as family tales, poetry and short stories, ‘Northern Roots’ is a lovely read from a lovely man who anyone who lived in Norton at the time will remember with much fondness.

Northern Roots is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

The first edition of the paperback featuring colour photographs is available upon request from Good Taste in Norton Village High Street or direct from Sixth Element Publishing.

All proceeds from the book sales go to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Obituary: Geoffrey Norman Marsh, General Practitioner

(b 1930; q Newcastle 1953; MBE, MD, FRCGP, DObstRCOG, DCH) died Darlington on 1st February 2021

By Chris Marsh and David White

Geoffrey Marsh, a GP in Norton, Stockton on Tees, helped to transform General Practice from its 1950’s pattern of doctors working independently to its current pattern of multidisciplinary teams and targeted preventive work. Over thirty papers in the BMJ and three books, he contributed to many developments including the adoption of remunerated cytology and immunisation targets in the 1990 GP contract as a means to raising the standard of preventive care provided to more deprived communities.

After school and university and house jobs in Newcastle, National Service in Egypt and obstetric and paediatric jobs back in Newcastle, he eventually joined the Norton Medical Centre practice in 1959, where he would be based almost entirely for the next 34 years.

A sabbatical in Burlington, Ontario followed by Visiting Professorial posts at the University of Iowa and McGill University, Montreal, however gave him the opportunity to compare and contrast primary care organisation in the UK, Canada and US and stimulated his work in researching and developing primary care.

His published writings ranged over primary care teams, changing patterns of home visiting, patient satisfaction (as early as 1975), medical records, hospital outpatient purpose, GP obstetrics, preventive care, deprivation and health, GP paediatrics, telephone consulting, counselling, nurse practitioners and workload efficiency.

He was a GP Trainer from 1970, an MRCGP examiner, on BMA Council and on the editorial board of the BMJ, JRCGP and OUP. For some years he organised a DRCOG course with the RCOG.

In 1989 he was appointed MBE for services to medicine.

He liked to play the controversialist and challenge accepted ideas, never more so than in his 1991 book ‘Efficient Care in General Practice or How to look after even more patients’.

In retirement since 1994 he pursued his life-long enthusiasm for gardening, exhibiting Old Roses, learning Italian, travelling and writing poetry and his memoirs.

Geoffrey leaves his wife, Jean, two daughters, a son and six grandchildren.