Coutts was a significant figure in public health in the early twentieth century, and was in charge of the national programmes for tuberculosis and venereal diseases. Francis Coutts was born in Queensland, Australia. He studied at Owens College Manchester and graduated MB ChB in 1892. He took his MD in 1898 and was awarded a gold medal for his thesis. From 1899-1901 he was assistant to Delépine in the public health department of the College. Having decided to specialise in public health, he took the DPH in 1901 and a BSc in public health in 1907. In 1901 he was appointed medical officer of health for Blackpool. In 1908 he became a medical inspector for the Local Government Board, and worked in the Foods Branch. In 1912 he helped set up a national tuberculosis board, run by the LGB. In 1915 he took over the planning of a national venereal diseases scheme. In 1919 Coutts was appointed senior medical officer in charge of tuberculosis and venereal diseases. In 1939 he reported on anti-tuberculosis services in Wales. Coutts was active in the BMA.