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Women in medicine in the 1940s

Harold Lambert - Physician

UCH was one of the, one of the medical schools, one of the few which had always been co-ed from the beginning. There were some purely female, the Royal Free and the West London, I think it was called, and a lot of the traditional ones which were purely male and there was a thing called the Good Enough Report, I think in 1946, which saw how grizzly medical schools were and made various recommendations including getting professorial units which a lot of them didn't have and also I think it said they should all be co-ed. So, I remember this very well because there wasn't a sort of feeling; men and women at UCH. There weren't as many women, I suppose. Well I, I don't actually remember but 10, 20%, something like that, and I remember friends who had gone from Cambridge to other medical schools, came to have coffee with you or whatever, you know, friends meeting, and they used to comment to me about there wasn't a sort of- who are these women because it was never like that and even then there were several consultant women. Miss Nightingale was the first assistant on the surgical unit. I worked with her a lot when I was house surgeon. Miss Wadge who was an ENT surgeon. Miss Dickens and Josephine Barnes, the dread Josephine Barnes, were gynaecologists. There's another thing. We were on ward round in the gynae ward and this one, she became a dame, very famous woman, she died a few years ago, and she stood in front of this bed and said to us- You must remember that 5,000 women a year die of this illness. That's one of the things I remember. And, so, there were quite a lot of women.
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