Consultant renal physician and innovator in the care of patients

Born: February 10, 1946;

Died: January 10, 2019

BRIAN Junor, who has died aged 72, was an innovator in the care of patients with kidney failure. Most of his career, until his retirement in 2011, was spent as a consultant renal physician in the renal and transplant unit at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary.

Born Brian James Ross Junor, he was brought up in Dundee, the son of a bank manager, and was educated at Dundee High School. He proceeded to St Andrews University, where he gained his medical degree (MB ChB) in 1970.

After posts as house physician and house surgeon in the professorial units in Dundee, he moved to train in renal medicine in Aberdeen. There he completed his MD thesis on a novel form of vitamin D tailored to the needs of patients with kidney failure, who suffered from the debilitating effects on their bones of the condition.He worked for a year in Melbourne before taking up a consultant post in Glasgow in 1979 – although he accomplished much during his time in Australia, his fondest memories were of his flatmates and the Mini Moke which he drove.

Back in Glasgow his time was shared between the Western Infirmary and Stobhill Hospital, but he moved full-time to the Western as the renal service expanded in response to increasing demand.

A considerate and skilled clinician, Mr Junor was an early proponent of patient representation in medical organisations. His interest in renal bone disease continued as a consultant. He introduced to Glasgow a new form of treatment, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, and was key to its international development by researching both its potential and its complications. He had a strong clinical focus on kidney transplantation, the best treatment for many patients with kidney failure.

He was always interested in new technologies and keen to incorporate them into clinical care. He swiftly adopted real-time ultrasound to make kidney biopsy safer and easier. He brought computing to the Western Infirmary renal unit, to try to ensure that patient records were accessible and complete, and to manage the balance between clinical effectiveness and data privacy.

With a firm belief in the value to patients of collective data, he established the Scottish Renal Registry, and led comparative audit and peer review of the Scottish renal units. He never forgot the patients’ perspective; he sought their views and tried to address their concerns about the renal service.

He also saw the importance of the regulation of doctors’ training. In addition to chairing the renal section of the joint committee for higher medical training of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, he sought to maintain standards throughout Europe through the Union of European Medical Specialists.

In 1993, he was instrumental in bringing to Glasgow for the first time the annual joint meeting of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association and the European Dialysis and Transplant Nurses’ Association. This was a great professional success; his family’s memory of the meeting is of a sea of tartan conference bags taking over the loft above their garage.

Mr Junor was also delighted to be invited to Pakistan in later life to meet with former trainees who had now achieved high office - a trip only slightly soured when a forgotten visa required him to make the journey between London and Islamabad three times in one 24-hour period.

He treated many hundreds of patients throughout his time at the Western, affording them all his characteristic care and attention. He was always surprised by those who saw his work as out of the ordinary, and shunned the limelight; it did occasionally find him, often during the fund-raising events organised by grateful patients, particularly the iconic clairvoyant Darlinda, whose charity provided funding for equipment and research.

Brian Junor was an unassuming man with an unremitting work ethic. He was invariably polite, but unafraid to stand his ground, particularly if he felt patients’ interests were threatened. He was kind and supportive to patients and all groups of staff. Quiet at times in public, in private he had a deft sense of humour.

A talented all-rounder who played cricket for Aberdeenshire, he was happiest in his garden or garage where he had an enviable collection of tools; his family often considered him singlehandedly responsible for the continuing profitability of B&Q.

His first wife, Sheena, died in a road traffic accident in 1972. In 1979 he married Liz; their children, Malcolm and Katie, and grandchildren, Holly and Verity, survive him, along with his partner, Freda.