Trailblazing Gwent Heart Specialist Dies

A doctor who drove the development of cardiology services in Gwent over more than 25 years, has died.

Trailblazing Gwent Heart Specialist, Dr John Davies, Dies
Dr John Davies, pictured with wife Cathy after receiving his OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2011.

When Dr John Davies, who was 66 and lived in Usk, began work as Gwent’s first consultant cardiologist at the Royal Gwent Hospital in 1983, its heart services were housed in what he used to jokingly refer to as “a little black hut in the car park.”

When he retired 27 years later, the cardiology department at the hospital provided – as it continues to provide – a range of diagnostic tests and procedures, to thousands of patients every year, in a dedicated, multi-million pound unit.

He told the Argus at the time: “We’ve come a very long way, and patients have benefited tremendously.

“Things were very different in 1983. We only had an ECG (electrocardiogram) service then.

“Patients in Gwent had to go to Cardiff for just about anything related to heart testing. But gradually we have built things up and we became the biggest non-invasive cardiology department in Wales.”

In more recent times, Welsh Government funding has enabled the development of cardiology services at the Royal Gwent, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, it was the Royal Gwent and St Woolos Hospitals’ Cardiology Fund, a charity of which Dr Davies was a founder, that raised money to fund equipment and services, through events such as an annual fun run. Dr Davies was keen participant in that event for more than 20 years.

The fund has raised more than £1 million to support cardiology services for Gwent patients.

“The fund has been a wonderful thing and I think the efforts of many, many people have helped influence government funding because they show how valuable the services are and how much people think of them,” Dr Davies told the Argus in 2010.

Dr Davies’ tireless work for the department and the patients it served earned him an OBE for services to medicine in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List.

The previous year he had received an Honorary Fellowship from Swansea University, in recognition of his role in improving cardiology in south east Wales, and for his outstanding commitment to patient care and provision.

He also played a key role over many years in helping train paramedics and doctors of the future, at home and abroad.

Originally from Crynant, near Neath – where he has been president of the rugby club – Dr Davies lived and worked in London after completing his training University College Hospital Medical School, moving back to Wales after the first two of his four children were born.

After retiring in 2010 Dr Davies set up his own private clinic, the Newport Cardiac Centre, which closed early this year.


Source: South Wales Argus