Dr David J Atherton MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCP
Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist

David AthertonDavid was born in 1949. His father was a single-handed general practitioner; the surgery was in the family home. He did his medical training at Cambridge University and Guy’s Hospital, London. After passing the Membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians in 1975, he specialised in dermatology, and trained in the speciality at Guy’s Hospital and at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin. He undertook research projects at the Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, principally in the field of childhood eczema. He also had an extended period of training at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the newly developing field of children’s dermatology.

His appointment as consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1982 made David the UK’s first full-time specialist in paediatric dermatology. Following that appointment, he worked hard to build up a department able to provide specialised services for children with every type of serious skin problem. Children with skin diseases that were either difficult to diagnose or difficult to treat were referred to the new department from hospitals all over the UK. He was simultaneously appointed as consultant in paediatric dermatology at St John’s Institute of Dermatology in St Thomas’ Hospital, London, which was the successor to the former St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin.

He remained actively involved in research, and has published 150 papers and 32 reviews in dermatology and paediatric journals, 32 chapters in books on children’s dermatology and 2 books for parents of children with eczema publications.

In 2008, David discontinued his NHS work, but continues to see children with skin problems privately at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital in West London and at the Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon. He deals with the full spectrum of serious skin diseases that occur in children and adolescents. In addition, he has special interests in eczema, haemangiomas and a variety of birthmarks, particularly pigmented birthmarks. He also has a great deal of experience in the treatment of acne.  He works closely with many colleagues in other paediatric specialities, particularly plastic surgery, allergy, nutrition and psychology.

He was active in the establishment of the British Society for Paediatric Dermatology, of which he was the first president.  The society promotes the development of high quality services for children with skin diseases throughout the UK.

David has also worked closely with many patient support groups, including DEBRA (epidermolysis bullosa), Caring Matters Now (for congenital melanocytic naevi), the Birthmark Support Group, the National Eczema Society and the Ectodermal Dysplasia Society.

David’s wife, Dr Guang Xu is a Chinese doctor who grew up in Shanghai and trained there in traditional Chinese medicine.  David has 4 sons, 2 of whom are at university, and 2 grandchildren.  Other than his work and his family, his favourite activities include playing tennis.

Appointments can be made by:

  • calling the BUPA Cromwell Hospital: +44(0) 20 7460 5700
  • calling the Parkside Hospital: +44(0)20 8971 8026
  • if no suitable appointment is available, cancellations may become available, and can be requested by calling Dr Atherton’s PA, Beth, on +44(0)20 7193 7568; or by contacting her by e-mail via atherton@dermatology4children.com, or by fax to +44(0)20 7692 7910

The BUPA Cromwell Hospital (Cromwell Road, London SW5 0TU) is easily accessed by underground.   The nearest tube stations are Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road.  It is particularly well located for those living in west and south-west London, and is easily accessed from the M4.

The Parkside Hospital is located in Wimbledon (53, Parkside, Wimbledon, London SW19 5NX), close to Putney, Wandsworth, Kingston on Thames and Surrey in general.  Access (Directions here) is straightforward from the A3 (dual carriageway from M25 junction 10).  The hospital provides free parking.  The Parkside Hospital is a short taxi ride from Wimbledon mainline and tube station, or via bus route 93.

A GP’s or specialist’s letter of referral is preferred, but not always essential.

In response to the current coronavirus situation, we can offer remote consultations.  Please discuss this option with my PA, Beth.