Dr Rodger Bartrop

We are saddened to inform members of the Medical Staff Council of Roger Bartrop’s death. He had been a passionate member of our ranks for over thirty years. Ralf Ilchef has written a beautiful summary of Roger’s wonderful life, which we include below:

Professor Roger Bartrop, who died on Friday 3rd February after a short illness, was a psychiatrist, academic and teacher who worked and taught at Royal North Shore Hospital for more than  30 years.

Roger graduated from the University of Sydney in 1963. After considering a career in surgery, he underwent paediatric training at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children Camperdown. He passed his Physicians’ exam at Prince Henry Hospital, then did his postgraduate training at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. While in London he met Suzanne, a “witty, fierce and gifted Swiss nurse”, as he memorably described her. Roger remained devoted to Sue, their children Clare and Philip and their families for the rest of his life.

While at Great Ormond Street, two psychoanalysts helped him to understand a troubled coeliac patient’s snake dreams, leading to a shift in professional direction. Returning to Australia, he completed a study on the physiology of bereavement with Leslie Kiloh and Ron Penny, culminating in a seminal and much-cited article in the Lancet in 1977 demonstrating depressed lymphocyte function in recently bereaved patients.

In 1978 he commenced work at Royal North Shore Hospital, serving for more than 30 years before stepping down in 2009. Rather than choose retirement, he went on to become the Foundation Professor of Mental Health at Western Sydney University Blacktown Clinical School. His colleague Professor Phillipa Hay noted that he made an enormous contribution to the WSU School of Medicine, and is remembered very fondly as a “true gentleman”, with an extraordinary work ethic, a marvellous mentor and highly engaging teacher with a sense of fun who will be much missed.

Roger taught several generations of medical students, psychiatry registrars and mental health staff at Royal North Shore with patience and kindness while modelling unfailing compassion for his patients and their families.

We extend our deep sympathy to Sue, Clare, Philip and their families.