A CONSULTANT who played a major role in children’s healthcare at the John Radcliffe Hospital is set to retire.

Dr Anne Thomson, 60, formed a children’s respiratory department at the hospital and went on to help create the children’s hospital.

She joined JR in 1989 as a paediatrician and went on to become the divisional director for children’s and women’s services.

During her tenure, the children’s respiratory department, which deals mostly with asthma and cystic fibrosis, has increased from just her to a team of half a dozen specialists.

Dr Thomson, who lives in Drayton St Leonard near Abingdon, will retire on November 30 and says she is looking forward to travelling and learning to play golf.

Dr Thomson said: “I ended up in paediatrics purely by accident.

“That is how most people end up where they do – they do something, it is interesting and they do some more, and there you go, you are away.”

Between 1984 and 1989, she worked as a University of Leicester lecturer, before joining the John Radcliffe Hospital to set up the paediatric respiratory department.

She said: “I knew Oxford was a lovely place to be because I had spent about nine months here and I wanted a job in a specialised area, which was children’s respiratory medicine. These do not come up very often, so it was really wonderful when one came up in Oxford.

“It was really starting up the service here. I did general paediatrics and respiratory for 10 years, and then respiratory was getting so big, I dropped general.”

When Dr Thomson arrived, she was the only children’s respiratory consultant. Now the department has six staff, including two consultants and specialist nurses.

In the late 1990s, she became clinical director of paediatrics and in 2010 named as divisional director.

Dr Thomson said: “One of the lovely things has been seeing children, particularly with cystic fibrosis, when they are diagnosed as an infant and then seeing them grow and handing them over to adult service in pretty good health. That is really wonderful.

“On the other side, the thing that made an enormous difference was building the children’s hospital and bringing all the areas for children together... when we moved in that was a pretty special day.”

Asked about the toughest part of her time at the John Radcliffe, she said: “Things usually go well, but sometimes they do not and it is always difficult and disappointing if a patient you have known well and known for a long time does not do well. I guess I feel it a bit personally, but that is what we do.”