Local Face: Christopher Trower

  |  Published: Dec 1st 2016

Christopher grew up in Eastbourne where his father worked as a single handed GP. Those were the days when families had to keep quiet while surgeries happened in the home. He qualifying from Barts in 1973, becoming the third generation of Trowers to do so. During the summer of 1972 he had spent four months in Uganda working some of the time in a mission hospital. It was when Idi Amin’s Asian expulsion order was in force and he found himself  learning as much about African politics as tropical paediatric medicine. He was sponsored through the last three years of his medical degree by the RAF, which enabled him to indulge in his early passion for skiing.

His mother had first taken him to Switzerland in the winter of 1953 from a then, largely unbuilt, Heathrow airport. He started ski racing as a junior aged twelve and was able to enjoy the best of amateur ski racing particularly in the British Universities team, racing against the Swiss in St. Moritz. He was in the RAF ski team for ten years and has continued to enjoy the sport, albeit now at a more sedate family pace.

Christopher met his wife Wendy while working at the Royal Sussex County Hospital Brighton. She was a junior casualty sister and their early courtship was carried out mainly in the suture theatre and crutch room! They married in 1977 on the RAF base at Akrotiri, Cyprus and enjoyed a wonderful two year honeymoon posting in the days just before tourism on the island took off. Their son Nicholas was born out there and life as a medical officer often revolved around the water ski and sailing clubs, including skiing in the winters on Mount Troodos.

On returning to UK they were posted to RAF Locking where Louise was born. On leaving the RAF in 1981, he became a GP partner at the Calcot Medical Centre, Gerrards Cross for 12 years. During that time Georgina was born and they settled into a happy pattern of family life. General practice then was very different, in the early days with no mobile phones, wives were expected to stay near the phone when on call and receive phone calls and generally act as the practice manager and receptionist of today.

In the 1980s Christopher became a pioneer for introducing computers into General Practice (in spite of opposition from some senior partners who felt they would never be used!).

Meanwhile Wendy had started working as a specialist palliative care nurse with the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home which she continued to do for 28 years. Christopher was also involved as a founding trustee.

He became Medical Director of the Buckinghamshire FHSA in 1992 and was in that role for 5 years. However, he was missing seeing patients and returned to clinical medicine as a full time partner at Poplar Grove Practice in Aylesbury in 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He was also a GP trainer and has always had an interest in quality development in general practice.

In 1992 he became club doctor for Wycombe Wanderers a role he continued for 21 years. In addition he became crowd doctor for London Wasps for the 10 years that they were at Adams Park. He had other interesting medical jobs such as the doctor on a Trans Siberian train journey, providing advice for the Health Ombudsman as an external adviser and as a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics & Paralympics.

Early morning commuting from Gerrards Cross on duty days became too arduous and the family moved to Wendover in April 2001.

Christopher and Wendy have been regular members of the congregation of St Mary’s church since arriving in Wendover. Since April, Christopher has been even more involved with the church, having become one of the two church wardens, currently responsible during the interregnum.

Although he gave up his clinical responsibilities three years ago, he has not fully retired, as he continues to appraise other GPs, and is a GP Special Adviser for the CQC, having inspected GP practices every week from Carlisle to the Scilly Isles and Sunderland to the Isle of Wight. He sees his role as very much being there to support and encourage his fellow doctors.

He describes his driving passions as his faith, his wife, 3 children, 5 grandchildren and black spaniel Cleo.

Christopher Trower
Wendy & Chris in New Zealand
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