Medical Council News


An Appreciation: Professor W. Arthur Tanner, F.R.C.S.I..

(01-02-1948 – 01-02-2017)

Professor Arthur Tanner, who died recently after a long illness very bravely borne, was one of the world’s true gentlemen whilst at the same time being analytical, direct and caring. He was remarkably resilient and resolute.

He served on the Medical Council from 2003 to 2008 and was at the time of his passing a member of its Registration and Continuing Practice and Education, Training and Professional Development Committees giving very wise and pragmatic advice.

His contribution to Irish Surgery, Medicine, rugby and sport in general was enormous. Graduating in Medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1971 (1965-1971), Arthur proceeded as a surgeon in general surgery in Ireland and Great Britain. He was appointed Consultant in General Surgery to the Meath and Adelaide Hospitals in 1983. He was first elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1986 and chaired the College Committee and importantly the Inter Collegiate Committee for Basic Surgical Training and Examinations. His efforts in this area ensured that to this day  surgical training and the diplomas awarded are truly intercollegiate; reciprocated by the other surgical colleges of Edinburgh, London and Glasgow, allowing surgeons young and old to move freely in these islands without the need to repeat examinations while also providing external approval of the training in Ireland. He also served as Chief Medical Advisor to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

During all this time, he actively pursued his passion for rugby and cars (rallying a beloved Mini-Cooper). However, it is for his role as a rugby doctor and his commitment to the development of Sports and Exercise Medicine that he will be remembered by many. He was frequently seen on the television running onto the field of play to resurrect the injured gladiatorial greats of rugby. First, as medical director of Old Wesley Rugby Football Club and later as Medical Director to Leinster Rugby, he nurtured, rehabilitated and cared for much of the young rugby talent of the last two decades or more that has given so much joy to many. His efforts, along with others in the field of sports medicine, helped lead to the founding of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, R.C.S.I. and later have it recognized as an independent medical specialty in its own right by the Medical Council. He was Vice-Dean of the Faculty, and more recently, he was re-elected to the Council of R.C.S.I..

His professionalism was beyond reproach. He consistently placed the patient and public interest first before profession, surgery or institution. He was the living example of Ambroise Pare’s –“Duty of a Doctor: To Cure Sometimes, To Relieve Often but To Care Always “.

To Prof. Tanner’s wife Ann, children Jamie, Patrick & Jocelyn, his family, friends and colleagues, the Medical Council wishes to extend its sympathies and condolences.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a Anam “ ,

Professor Freddie Wood.