Dr Sylvain Edouard Josse, the Secretary General of UEMO between 1983 to1986, died last month

28/05/2020 News UEMO 414 Views
Dr Sylvain Edouard Josse, the Secretary General of UEMO between 1983 to1986, died last month

Dr Sylvain Edouard Josse, the Secretary General of UEMO between 1983 to1986, died last month. Dr. Peter Holden, as the only member of the BMA GP committee who served with him, mark his passing with the following document, presented at the virtual meeting of the GPC last week.

”Dr Sylvain Edouard Josse O.B.E. always known as Eddie Josse, a former member of the GMSC died in April aged 88. He was a prominent member of the North London Jewish Community and had many interests in life.
Dr Josse – the son of a French furrier – was born Silvain Edouard Josse in 1933 and brought up in North London where he remained even during the Blitz going on to study Medicine at the University of London qualifying in 1956 and was still practising forensic medicine until last year.
After several years of hospital practice in respiratory medicine he became a GP principal in Southgate in 1962 and in 1965 he became a police surgeon (FME) for the Metropolitan Police – a post he was to hold for 50 years becoming a renowned expert on many facets of forensic medicine too numerous to detail in full but, including police custody and detention issues, the medical aspects of drink/drugs/substance abuse and driving, medical competence and negligence.
Eddie Josse had an early interest in medical politics and was a member of the BMA Representative Body in the 1960s and a senior member of the GMSC (GPC) at the historic time of the phased introduction of compulsory vocational training between 1981 to 1983 and that was where I met him when I was chairman of the GP Trainees Committee. He was a former chairman and secretary of the JCPTGP – the joint GPC/RCGP body which issued the forerunner of the CCT. He personally signed my own JCPTGP certificate enclosing a congratulatory note.
Ever a stickler for detail as befitted his interest in medico-legal matters he taught me to read every word of our terms of service and brought me up short when I mistakenly stated, in committee, that GPs were required to attend medical emergencies, correcting me quite properly to the fact that we were required to make arrangements to deal with clinical emergencies – an important distinction in the days when individual GPs were working the clock around.
A champion for standards in General Practice at a time when it was unfashionable; during his tenure at the JCPTGP, alarmed by the amount of deployment time British Army GP trainees were sustaining to the detriment of their professional training he threatened to remove training recognition from the British military with the result that in very short order the British Army developed one of the best GP training schemes of the time.
Part of the difficulties surrounding the introduction of GP training was how to enforce the UKs leading and more stringent GP training requirements on European graduates coming to the UK and together with Alan Rowe the then President of UEMO (BMAs Mr Europe) Eddie was one of the UK representatives to UEMO and was its Secretary General from 1982-1986.
Dr Josse was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1983 for services to medicine.
Following Dr Josse retirement from General Practice in 1996 the grass did not grow under his feet. His second string to his professional bow, forensic medicine, came to the fore and he was from 1998-2000 the President of the Association of Police Surgeons now known as the Association of Forensic Physicians, a Council member of the Royal Society of Medicine, and President of its section of General Practice.
He was a prime mover in driving up the standards of expert witnesses and behind moves 8 or 9 years ago to set up the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of which he was a Fellow. He was very disappointed when the General Medical Council declined to accept Forensic and Legal Medicine as a recognised subspecialty of medicine.
In 2015 the advent of reliable DNA matching techniques triggered a police review of all unsolved major crimes; Dr Josse’s meticulous attention to both clinical and administrative detail some 30 years earlier following his forensic examination of a suspect resulted in conviction of that suspect for rape in 2015 for which publicly Eddie received the personal thanks of the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Dr Josse influence as a GP was very significant at a crucial time for general practice and that work is only just within the memory of current medical politicians and it must not be eclipsed by his significant and distinguished work as a forensic physician which until 25 years ago was a common GP portfolio career combination in the United Kingdom.
Eddie continued to work as an expert witness until his hospitalisation just before last Christmas and he died in April.”

May his memory be a blessing

Peter Holden
21 May 2020

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