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  Yvonne Helen Carter (1959–2009), by unknown photographer, c.2007 Yvonne Helen Carter (1959–2009), by unknown photographer, c.2007
Carter, Yvonne Helen (1959–2009), general practitioner and medical educationist, was born on 16 April 1959 at 3 Woburn Hill, Stoneycroft, Liverpool, and was educated at Notre Dame High School, Liverpool, and then was accepted as a medical student at St Mary's Hospital medical school in London. She qualified MB BS in 1983 with a distinction in obstetrics and gynaecology. Her subsequent career in general practice was very much influenced by Brian McGuinness, who acted as supervisor during her undergraduate placement in primary care in Runcorn, Cheshire, and who was subsequently to become professor of primary care at Keele University. He was able to convince her that there was much scope for clinical research in general practice. Thus in 1984 she joined a vocational training scheme for general practitioners in Liverpool and during the next three years in this role published several papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Carter then became a general practitioner from 1987 to 1990, again in Liverpool. On 21 May 1988, at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Liverpool, she married Michael Joseph Bannon (b. 1954), paediatrician and medical educationist, and son of Christopher Bannon, salesman; they had one son, Christopher. In 1990 she moved to north Staffordshire with her husband and practised as a GP in Newcastle under Lyme until 1993. She was also appointed an honorary research fellow at the Centre of Primary Health Care at Keele University and received an award for research from the Royal College of General Practitioners. She was awarded her MD in 1994 for a thesis entitled ‘The aetiology and prevention of accidents in preschool children’, based on research in Newcastle under Lyme.

In 1992 Carter became senior clinical lecturer in the department of primary care at the University of Birmingham, where her academic output continued unabated. For two years (1994–6) she was concurrently GP tutor at the Queen Elizabeth Postgraduate Medical Centre, Birmingham. Perhaps not surprisingly she then became the youngest professor of general practice and primary care in the United Kingdom when she was appointed in 1996 at St Bartholomew's and Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London. She very rapidly developed a high national and international reputation as a clinical academic and leader.

In 2003 Carter was appointed vice-dean of the Leicester–Warwick medical schools. In the following year she was made the founding dean of the newly independent Warwick University medical school. She proved to be an absolutely outstanding dean. The General Medical Council inspected the new school at the time of its separation from Leicester and gave it a high recommendation. She went on to see the school achieve a grade 5 in health services research in the research assessment exercise in 2008, putting it in the top ten medical schools in the country. Indeed she was so successful as dean that she was appointed a pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick in 2007.

In 1998 Carter had been made a foundation fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and also held a number of senior positions in the Royal College of General Practitioners, including the chairmanship of the research board (1996–2000). In addition at a national level she made many contributions, serving on the Medical Research Council, the General Medical Council, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and as a governor of the Health Foundation. She edited several award-winning books, including the Handbook of Palliative Care (1998; 2nd edn, 2005) and Research Opportunities in Primary Care (1999). She never lost her interest in general practice and during her whole career worked as a general practitioner in deprived areas of Liverpool, Staffordshire, Birmingham, east London, and finally Coventry (latterly at the Forrest Medical Centre, Canley).

Soon after she moved to Warwick, Carter was diagnosed as having breast cancer and during the following year she learned that the cancer had metastasised. Remarkably her colleagues would never have known this from working with her, though she was open about her illness in a Guardian interview in 2005. She continued working extensively until she took retirement in July 2009 with widespread metastases. She was considered a remarkable clinical academic and without question she was a true leader. In 2000 she had been appointed OBE for services to health research and in 2009 she was appointed CBE for services to medical education. In 2006 she received the Confederation of British Industry's first woman in science award. She died at her home, Oaklands, 575A Westwood Heath Road, Coventry, on 20 October 2009, and her funeral was held on the 28th. She was survived by her husband, Michael, and son, Christopher. Her obituaries inevitably speculated on how much more she would have accomplished if not for her untimely death.

Peter J. Morris


The Guardian (19 April 2005); (26 Oct 2009) · Coventry Telegraph (21 Oct 2009) · Birmingham Post (22 Oct 2009) · Times Higher Education Supplement (5 Nov 2009) · BMJ (23 Jan 2010) · WW (2009) · personal knowledge (2013) · private information (2013) · b. cert. · m. cert. · d. cert.


photograph, c.2007, University of Warwick [see illus.] · obituary photographs

Wealth at death  

£679,212: probate, 11 Feb 2010, CGPLA Eng. & Wales