Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie has made an enormous contribution to both healthcare and technology in Scotland, over the past 40 years. He has been a GP partner in Peterhead, is still the James McKenzie Professor of General Practice at Aberdeen University, and he has also been Director of Public Health at NHS Grampian.
He has played a unique role in shaping the computerisation of Scottish Primary Care, having written a book on the potential of computers in primary care, chaired the Electronic Clinical Communications Implementation group, carried out a couple of reviews of the Gpass system, helped set up the Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit at Aberdeen University, and he has encouraged the Scottish Government to set up a national data and intelligence reporting service for Primary Care. He has long advocated the importance of innovation in computing and information technology in the delivery of optimal care.
He has led a number of national programmes, notably the introduction of Meningitis C vaccine in Scotland, and chaired the steering group for the SIGN guidance on Cardiovascular disease prevention reflecting a long standing interest based on research in his own practice.
He was awarded an OBE for services to General Practice and Primary Care and, in 2011, received a knighthood for services to the NHS in Scotland.
In a conversation with Dr Andrew McElhinney of SNUG, Sir Lewis discusses some career highlights, the significance of lifeboats, which of his many roles have given him most satisfaction, which may have had the most impact, how GP computing may develop in the future and we also speculate whether patients may start to come and request a “vaccine line” from their GP in the future!