Featured Doctor

REES, Dr Dewi

Wales, Canada: Rural Hero (1929 - )

Places of Work

Labrador (Canada) , Llanidloes (Wales), Stretton-on-Dunsmore (Warwickshire, England)


He was born in Cadoxton, Barry, educated at Llandovery College and trained at St Thomas' Hospital. His last senior appointment was as a Medical Director of St Mary's Hospice in Birmingham. He started his medical career in 1956 in South Wales and went on to work in Labrador, Mid Wales and rural Warwickshire as a GP as well as working in a psychiatric hospital in South Wales and a medical director of a hospice.

In Canada he worked with indigenous Inuit and Innu people. After a period working in a psychiatric hospital he moved to Mid Wales when he joined a neighbouring
practice in Llanidloes (1960-74).

Why a Rural Hero?

While working as a rural doctor in Wales his research highlighted high death rates from tractor accidents which eventually led to the introduction of compulsory cabs and roll-bars. He was also one of the first doctors to undertake research into bereavement.

He was the first British doctor to describe the high mortality caused by agricultural tractors and the first GP to undertake early research on bereavement, studies which are now described as pioneering. He describes in his book “General Practice as it was (A GPs life in Canada and Rural Wales)” the experiences of other rural GPs which pre-date penicillin, modern technological medicine and a rural practice which is very different from today. He also describes the role of traditional healers both in Canada and Wales.

He has published widely in the scientific press as well as writing a number of well respected books and reviews. The list below is only a sample of his prolific work. He is however my rural hero because he saved the lives of so many Welsh Hill Farmers!


General Practice as it was- A GP's life in Canada and rural Wales; April 2012; Y Lolfa .
Pointers to Eternity: Dr Dewi Rees: May 2010: Y Lolfa
Death and Bereavment: The psychological, religious and cultural interfaces; Dr Dewi Rees Feb 2001; Wiley;
Healing in Perspective; Dr Dewi Rees, Sept 2003; Wiley
The hallucinations of widowhood: Dewi Rees W. Br Med J. 1971 Oct 2;4(5778):37-41.
The distress of dying.:Dewi Rees W. Br Med J. 1972 Jul 8;3(5818):105-7.
The Beck Inventory--hidden cost. Dewi Rees W. Br J Gen Pract. 2003 Jun;53(491):489.