SIR James Cameron, who died on Tuesday, could have made strong claim

to the title of architect of the shape of general practice in the

National Health Service, until the present Government's restructuring.

Born at Bridge of Earn in Perthshire in 1905, James Cameron was

educated at Perth Academy and St Andrews University, where he qualified

in medicine in 1929.

He had a distinguished war career with the Royal Army Medical Corps,

during which he was taken prisoner at the fall of Calais in 1940. From

1947, he was an active member of the British Medical Association,

becoming a member of the General Medical Services Committee in 1956 and

of the BMA Council in 1961.

In 1964, he was elected chairman of the GMSC to succeed Dr Alfred

Bentley Davies after Dr Davies interpreted a resolution on pay increases

at a BMA conference as a vote of no confidence in himself.

James Cameron oversaw a new era of negotiation with the Government

which ended the ''pool'' system of payment for GPs. He headed a

committee which drew up the principles of a new contract for family

doctors which eventually formed the framework of an agreement with the

then Health Minister Kenneth Robinson.

His achievement was recognised not only by the gold medal citation he

received from the BMA in 1974, when he resigned the chairmanship of the

GMSC, and the knighthood he was awarded in the Birthday honours list of

1979, but also in the establishment of a fund with the #800,000 surplus

from the ''pool'' system. Instead of dividing the cash amongst

themselves, GPs decided to use it to establish a charitable fund for

general practitioners in need, naming it after Sir James.

After failing to secure the chairmanship of the BMA Council in 1971,

he was elected to that post in 1976 at the age of 71, at a time when

Scots dominated the organisation, with Dr Jack Miller, of Hyndland,

Glasgow as treasurer and Dr Alistair Clark, Clydebank, chairman of the

BMA's representative body.

He held the chairmanship for three years and continued his association

with the many national and international medical bodies until his death.

His wife, Irene, died in 1986. He is survived by one son and two

daughters. A memorial service will be held at St Marylebone's church in

London on 22 November.