Pamela pictured on right treating child patient c.1983
By Fred Hill and Iain Mackie
On 8th February 2021 Pam Hobson passed away peacefully aged 93 years. She had lived all her life in Bramhall, south Manchester, where her father was the leading general medical practitioner.
Pam studied at the Turner Dental School in Manchester qualifying with an LDS in 1950. Soon afterwards she began her long professional career in the Department of Children’s Dentistry. Under the guidance of John Miller she undertook ground breaking research aimed at developing methods of pulp treating carious primary teeth so that the possible benefits of maintaining complete deciduous arches could be investigated.
Such methods of conservation were sorely needed since at that time very few children in Manchester escaped enforced and unplanned extractions because of caries. She quickly gained her MSc in 1955 and later in 1967 became the first female recipient of the prestigious DDS qualification.
By the 1970’s Pam had been appointed Senior Tutor and her work was diversifying. With Phil Holloway she published papers on aspects of undergraduate dental education and recruitment.
Pam also developed a dedicated interest in the dental care of medically compromised children. She became Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Child Dental Health and provided dental services at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Her publications at that time were largely concerned with this work, leading to her becoming a national authority on the management of children with chronic medical conditions and disabilities, a forerunner to Special Care Dentistry.
Prevention was always at the forefront of her approach to care of her patients. In this respect she became concerned about the problem of sugar in medicines, particularly those used on a long-term basis. She was the leading light in initiating campaigns to improve this situation by the development of “sugar free” products, taking her crusade to parliament.
Pam was of course a prominent figure in Paediatric Dentistry in the UK, serving on numerous committees and advisory bodies. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was made President of the then newly formed British Society of Dentistry for the Handicapped in 1978 – 79 and President of the British Paedodontic Society in 1983 – 84.
As well as raising a family and following her exacting and successful career Pam enthusiastically pursued other interests. These included geology which took her hiking and trekking to increasingly remote parts of the planet, art and classical music.
She loved her home, both the house and garden, which she had perfected with her husband Basil. She remained there after his sad death in 1974, only moving to a nearby nursing home in August 2019 because of increasing physical frailty.
Pam was an inspirational person who lived a full life. She will be missed by her two children and four grandchildren and by everyone who knew her.