The first Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic in Brighton began in a wooden hut at the site of the Outpatients building on Eastern road. The service was then relocated to Royal York House at Pool Valley and stayed here until cicra. 1995. At this time, there was limited antiretroviral therapy and HIV services were provided by GUM physicians.
In 1995, the Lawson Unit first opened its doors on the Eastern Road site (underneath main Outpatients). A year later, at the age of 30, Martin Fisher was appointed consultant in HIV medicine in Brighton. On arriving, Martin quickly set about establishing access to new drugs and viral load testing for a cohort of around 400 patients and strategically built a strong dynamic team in Brighton. Martin sadly passed away in 2015. The Lawson Unit continued to develop and expand its services and now boasts a large multi-disciplinary team of professors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals, providing care for over 2,400 people living with HIV.
The next stage in the journey of the HIV outpatient clinic was the move to brand new hospital building (Louisa Martindale Building) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in July of 2023.
Martin had a great ability to foresee what a ‘better service’ looked like. He thought of and introduced initiatives LONG before they became established elsewhere in medicine (including morbidity & mortality meetings, patient representatives & multidisciplinary teams). He was so proud of Brighton; his achievements were always for the team, and not for the individual. He was an inspirational leader and networker who brought people together and produced magic!. But more than anything else, he was an outstanding physician, with a wonderful bedside manner, who treated his patients like they were his own friends and family.
The move to the new hospital was a long-term vision of Martin’s, and we know he would be immensely proud that the Lawson Unit have continued to provide the same high quality HIV care in such a wonderful new building. It’s only fitting that Martin should take pride and place on the walls of the ‘new’ Lawson Unit.
Timeline of HIV services in Brighton
Images from inside the ‘new’ Lawson Unit
Martin takes pride of place in the Lawson Unit reception