The Bhowmick Lecture

History of the Bhowmick Lecture

The Bhowmick Lecture was introduced 14 years ago in 2005 in honour of Professor Bimal Bhowmick who had been one of the very first pioneers to see stroke services improved first in his own area of Rhyl in North Wales and then for the benefit of the whole of Wales.

It is an annual lecture held at the Welsh Stroke Conference and the invitation is extended to an eminent person who has made a very significant international contribution to stroke medicine. As well as delivering the lecture with a title of their choice they receive the annual Bhowmick Medal.

You will find below the biography of Professor Bim Bhowmick and the Roll of Honour of the previous recipients of the Bhowmick Medal.

About Professor Bhowmick

Professor Bimal Bhowmick has had a long and distinguished career in the NHS Wales for nearly 50 years and held in high esteem by his professional colleagues, staff and the public. His contribution to developing stroke services in Wales has been phenomenal. He created a demonstration unit for stroke rehabilitation which has been visited by stroke teams from UK and Sweden. He pioneered innovative services to improve the quality of life of stroke patients such as the first ever family stroke support worker, first stroke club, first volunteer speech scheme, first outreach stroke team, first diploma course in stroke rehabilitation with Bangor University and the first Stroke Association branch.

As the founding Chairman of the Welsh Stroke Interest Group (now WASP), he worked tirelessly for improvement of stroke care in Wales.

In addition to stroke services, Bim has contributed in wide ranging fields to improve patient care and medical education.

Bim was a Consultant Physician and Clinical Director for the care of older persons/integrated medicine in Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl in North Wales. He established the first Academic Geriatric Unit in a small rural District General Hospital in the UK and it became a centre of excellence for elderly services. He has been a ‘Father Figure’ to many of the geriatricians in Wales who often sought his advice for personal and service development over several decades. In recognition of his significant contribution to the development of elderly care services in the Principality he was awarded the OBE. The British Geriatrics Society honoured him with the ‘Founders Medal- the highest honour for a most distinguished physician’.

Professor Bhowmick was the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Welsh Postgraduate Medical Education for over a decade and played a pivotal role in creating the facilities for the postgraduate education and training of medical trainees. As an Associate Postgraduate Dean for the International Medical Graduates for ten years and later as a Medical Director of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker medics, Bim made an unparalleled contribution to the training and welfare of overseas doctors.

Cardiff University conferred on him a Personal Chair and a Fellowship of the university. He was also awarded a Fellowship from Glyndwr University for his public services and became a governor.

Bim was the first elected ethnic minority Councillor and Censor of the Royal College of Physicians London. He helped to initiate and then chaired the ‘Ethnic Minority Committee’ – now Equality and Diversity for a decade. He was the first ethnic minority MRCP examiner for the London College and has served and chaired many national committees.

From 2006-2017 he has devoted his expertise in developing community geriatrics. He pioneered an award-winning ground-breaking scheme known now as BIM (the Bhowmick Innovative Model: 2013) which joined up secondary care, general practitioners, social services, voluntary Alliance, community services (therapists, pharmacists, district nurses, specialist nurses) and the carer forums and patients. The programme provided prompt specialist nursing and consultant physician assessment at home together with routine investigations for older persons with acute illness not requiring hospital care. These patients were then managed at home with daily revisits until condition improved. This simple but innovative project ensured that ill older people received the safest appropriate treatment for their needs in their place of residence with privacy and dignity, ensuring rapid recovery and thereby reducing ambulance queues outside A/E departments, unnecessary admissions, delayed transfers of care and bed-blocking with inevitable cost savings.

Bim has been bestowed with the inaugural Life Time Achievement NHS Wales Award and the ‘Recognising Achievement Award’ by the Welsh Government.

He was the recipient of the Diamond Jubilee medal for his public services. He has been the finalist for the Bevan prize from the Bevan Foundation, BMJ Award leadership category and the Windrush NHS 70 awards.

Bim held the honour of being the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd and one of the Patrons of AWYRLAS-the largest NHS charity in North Wales. He has been a member of the independent Think Tank Bevan Commission advising about the health and wellbeing of citizens in Wales.

Bim’s memoires You can’t climb a ladder with hands in your pocket published in 2005 has been reviewed as “inspirational”. It describes how his family narrowly escaped from the jaws of slaughter from Bangladesh during the partition of India (1947), how he became a penniless refugee in India fighting abject poverty and hunger, the loss of his father from starvation, and begging for his school fees for his education which put him on the path to success.