Dr Peter Fisher – President of the Faculty of Homeopathy
2/9/1950 – 15/8/2018
It was with great shock and sadness that we received news of the death of the Faculty President, Dr. Peter Fisher, in a road accident near the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM), London, UK, on 15th August 2018.
Our thoughts go out to his family first of all at this dreadful time. They have lost a loved one, whilst we have lost a leader.
Dr. Fisher was Director of Research at the hospital, Europe’s largest centre for integrative medicine. He was also Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal family’s association with homeopathic medicine extends back to Queen Victoria, who admired and was treated by Dr. Frederic Quin, one of the founders of the London Homoeopathic Hospital in 1849; George VI permitted “Royal” to be suffixed to its name in 1948.
By long tradition one of the monarch’s physicians unofficially takes responsibility for homeopathic treatment, and it was this role that Peter took on in 2001. He modestly suggested that his appointment was “a matter of being in the right place at the right time” and praised both the Queen and the Prince of Wales for their open-mindedness.
A graduate of Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Homeopathy, he was a widely published expert in rheumatology and forms of complementary and alternative medicine. He was previously Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at King's College Hospital.
Dr. Fisher chaired the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) working group on homeopathy and was a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional and Complementary Medicine. He was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal of the Polish Academy of Medicine in 2001.
He worked for more than 30 years at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (renamed the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine in 2010) Dr. Fisher was the hospital’s Director of Research from 1996 and, in addition, its Clinical Director from 1998 to 2014.
Peter Fisher was one of homeopathy’s most devoted and convincing champions – articulate and authoritative as a writer and speaker. As the Faculty report says ‘it is no exaggeration to say that in Peter we have lost an irreplaceable talent, a giant in all his fields of professional endeavour – as a clinician, a researcher, an academic and a champion of medical homeopathy. It is a huge loss to his family and our community.
Peter Antony Goodwin Fisher was born on September 2 1950 to Antony Fisher and his wife Eve. He was educated at Tonbridge School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, before training at Westminster Hospital Medical School.
His first encounter with alternative medicine came when he went on a field trip to China while he was an undergraduate.
“I was astonished to see a woman having surgery on her abdomen without an anaesthetic,” he recalled. “
To manage the pain, all she had was three little acupuncture needles in her left ear. This was something I hadn’t been taught in any Cambridge lecture.”
He became ill himself as a medical student and, when his doctors told him that nothing could be done to alleviate his symptoms, he gave himself homeopathic treatment, with some success.
There were no opportunities at the time to be trained as a consultant in homeopathy, so he took a position as a research fellow in rheumatology at St Bartholomew's Hospital. By good luck, a professor at the hospital shared his interest in homeopathy and they published one of the first serious studies of the discipline, in the British Medical Journal.
From 1986 he was the editor of the journal “Homeopathy”.
Peter Fisher was a Fellow of the Faculty of Homeopathy and had recently become its President; he was also elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1997. He travelled around the world as a lecturer, noting that homeopathy was taken more seriously in most other countries and suggesting that this was because, in the UK, patients are unusually submissive to the will of their doctors.
In 2007 he was awarded the Polish Academy of Medicine’s Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal.
He died near the RLHIM when he was struck by a lorry while cycling.
Peter Fisher married, in 1997 to Nina Oxenham; they had two daughters.
Dr Peter Fisher, born September 2 1950, died August 15 2018.
Vice-President, Dr Gary Smyth, is to step up to the Faculty Presidency pro tem. All colleagues have the opportunity to mourn Peter’s loss and celebrate his life at Faculty Congress in Liverpool 11 – 14 October 2018.