Louis Smidt obituary

louis smidt

Louis Smidt assisted set up a groundbreaking HIV/Aids services and played a pivotal part in the redevelopment of Broadmoor high-protection hospital

Louis Smidt, who has died aged 70 from prostate cancer, was a leading podiatrist who created an unusual but effective transition to NHS management, the place he specialised in care for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people. He assisted establish a groundbreaking HIV/Aids support and went on to play a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Broadmoor higher-security hospital. Work on the £242m scheme to rebuild the Victorian institution in Berkshire started a number of weeks ahead of his death.

As chair of the mental overall health trust responsible for Broadmoor, Smidt also oversaw the transfer of all girls patients to a separate, modern day facility in west London. It was standard of his humanity that he regarded this as a priority problem and non-negotiable in his dealings with ministers.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a Jewish household from eastern Europe, Smidt moved to Britain at the age of twenty to study at the Manchester Foot hospital and college of chiropody. His skills have been swiftly recognised and he became a instructor at the college. He went on to be a senior lecturer at the Northern College of Chiropody in Salford and, from 1978, principal of the London Foot hospital and school of podiatry, where he was to lead his very first main redevelopment task.

He mixed his academic function in London with these of district chiropodist to the then Bloomsbury overall health authority and member of the neighbouring Islington well being authority, the place he chaired the preparing and finance group. He was also an active member of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, turning into chairman of its council and driving forward crucial modifications to the curriculum. He remained on the council till 1989, following which he was awarded an honorary vice-presidency.

It was in 1986, following the Griffiths report that proposed the introduction of standard management of the NHS, that Smidt became one of the first clinicians to move into a managerial job, as a unit standard manager in Bloomsbury. His responsibilities included solutions for individuals impacted by HIV/Aids, and, in collaboration with Michael Adler and other clinical professionals at University School London (UCL), he produced what came to be regarded as the UK’s major provision in that area.

Smidt then grew to become director of local community well being services in Bloomsbury and, in 1993, chief executive of the Camden and Islington neighborhood overall health companies NHS trust. With characteristic drive, he set about bettering the two the quality and material of providers, developing the Highgate mental health centre and the UK’s very first girls-only residential psychological well being crisis facility at Drayton Park.

As a well being manager, Smidt had a profound understanding of the relevance of combining support provision, educating and analysis, and was relentless in his pursuit of links with UCL, exactly where he was to turn out to be a going to professor in 1995. One particular of his strengths, and possibly the essential to his achievement, was the developing of relationships and the interest he took in every person he met. He also had a uncommon gift for spotting and nurturing talent: the trust produced no fewer than 12 future chief executives of NHS bodies.

On retirement from management, Smidt went on to become chair of two mental health trusts: Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster (1999-2001) and the West London mental well being believe in, which includes Broadmoor, one particular of the toughest briefs in the NHS (2001-07). He oversaw the drawing up of strategies for redevelopment of the hospital and secured the go-ahead from government.

Smidt, who was manufactured OBE in 2008, was throughout his lifestyle a supporter of progressive South African brings about, such as the anti-apartheid motion. He was a passionate cricket fan and on summer time days could frequently be discovered at Lord’s. With his prolonged-phrase companion, Laura Sharpe, whom he married in 2005 and who supported him by way of a number of many years of failing well being, he latterly spent significantly time in France.

As effectively as Laura, he is survived by his initial wife, Sandra, their daughters, Andrea and Samantha, and five grandchildren.

• Louis Smidt, NHS manager and podiatrist, born 31 July 1943 died 13 February 2014

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