Equality and diversity: Sex

We expect equality across the sexes and have always championed the contribution of both to general practice. We ensure our products, services and polices are relevant and fair. We value the contribution and perspectives of all.

A group of young people smiling together

Our current exhibition 'Women at the heart of general practice' shares this rich history as do a wealth of other content below, including resources on patient care and podcasts exploring the breadth of women GPs’ experiences.

Here you can read community stories, tell us your own story, and find helpful resources to develop your learning.

Photo of Hetty Ockrim placed in a Women at the heart of general practice cut out.

Hetty Ockrim's story

Hetty spent 43 years as a general practitioner in the Ibrox area of Glasgow. Her family had felt that medical studies were not appropriate for a girl, and so she started a general science course at the University of Glasgow in 1938, switching to medicine without informing her parents.

After graduating in 1943, she was a Surgical House Officer at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and then spent a short time in general practice before starting specialist training in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women in Glasgow and the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital in Edinburgh.

Headshot of Molly Mcbride from the shoulders up smiling

Molly McBride's story

Dr McBride was the first woman to serve as the College’s Honorary Secretary, from 1989 to 1994. She played a key role during major upheaval in the NHS, and members valued her personal, warm, calming approach. She also championed women GPs’ concerns, making changes to enable their participation in College events and initiating joint working with the Medical Women’s Federation to look at the issues facing young women GPs.

Her mother refused to support her ambition to study civil engineering, and instead she turned to medicine, qualifying from Liverpool University in 1954. Her first job was as an assistant GP in Tarporley, Cheshire, before joining a practice in Chester in 1969. She was active in the College’s Mersey Faculty as both Chairman and Provost and served as a GP member of the Mersey Regional Health Authority for 6 years.

She moved to a practice in the East End of London in 1990 where the challenges facing many of her patients led her to press for improvements for the capital’s most deprived areas.

Photo of Mary Richmond Ellis's things in a clear case

Mary Richmond Ellis's story

Mary Richmond Ellis (1918-2009) started her career in general practice before training in obstetrics and gynaecology during the 1940s and 1950s. She also served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1944 to 1947.

The shining testimonials from her hospital roles marked her out as a successful future consultant. Her mother’s sudden death led to her return to general practice, buying a large house in Harlington with her father which included her surgery. Over 30 years, she became well known for the hundreds of babies that she delivered and for her mother and baby clinics, described in her obituary as “legendary.”

Mary also helped to find the Harlington Hospice Association, becoming its first president. Her house has become the Harlington Hospice. Her family donated her bag to the College as a tangible legacy of her years of home visits. Amongst its contents is her stethoscope and a number of her membership cards for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, having gained her MRCOG in 1951.

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