Robert Buckland arrived in Edinburgh by steam train from Wales in the 1960s.
|Year of Graduation||1966|
Your time at the University
The first of my family to go to university, Edinburgh seemed the logical choice for Medicine. My journey up for interview involved 12 hours by steam train from South Wales and the following day I discovered that I had forgotten to pack my suit trousers and wore rather grubby slacks that I had travelled in. I was next to a fellow candidate who was wearing what appeared to be full highland dress. Wonder of wonders I was accepted. Women (about 10%) and non Scots were rare in those days and even the Union was men only except on Saturday nights of course. Even the final year dinner was men only and as Professor Croften said we were the last of the Edinburgh gentlemen. Some things have improved. I met my wife in Edinburgh, married in 1966 and this year we celebrate 48 years of wedded bliss. So thank you Edinburgh for that, lifelong friends and for a career which has been fulfilling and given my family a standard of living of which my forefathers could not have dreamed. None of this could have been without the grants and scholarships that were available to those of us from working class families in the 1960s which is why now I support the Principal’s Bursary Fund.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I cannot say that Edinburgh was influential in my choice of Anaesthesia as a career but the rigours of the 2nd MB played no small part in my being awarded the Nuffield Prize for the Primary FFARCS. Wee Jimmie and his plates will live with us for ever. I became a consultant anaesthetist at The Royal Hampshire County Hospital and a family life in Winchester. However as always curiosity led me into other things and involvement with the BMA.
None of this could have been without the grants and scholarships that were available to those of us from working class families in the 1960s
I sat on most of the consultant committees including negotiating with the Department of Health on a number of matters including Terms and Conditions of Service.Our political masters have no concept of the work and commitment of doctors. Doctors in management was strongly supported by many but ultimately usurped by political expediency.As a member of Council and then Honorary Secretary of the AAGBI I was part of a team responsible for educational programmes and conferences. This was without doubt one of the most fascinating periods of my career meeting with colleagues from not only the UK but from all over the world. The changes that have occurred in my professional lifetime are staggering. From ether to chips with everything and now the safety of Anaesthesia is taken for granted. I retired and now enjoy model engineering and my garden. Then of course there are our 5 grandchildren. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one went to Edinburgh.
Never lose the faculty of curiosity. It is the key to lifelong learning and enjoyment.