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Rosemary Rue

Image courtesy of Oxford Medical Alumni 


Rue began her medical training at the Royal Free Hospital in London, but was dismissed when she married. She moved to Oxford to continue studying, and qualified as a doctor in 1951.


  • Rue started her clinical work in the Cowley Road Hospital, but was dismissed when it was discovered that she was married and had a newborn son. She then practiced as a GP in east Oxford.
  • In 1965 she began a successful career in hospital administration: she was appointed Assistant Senior Medical Officer at the Oxford Regional Hospital Board in 1965; the Regional Medical Officer to the Oxford Regional Health Authority in 1973; and the Regional General Manager in 1984.
  • Rue worked to promote community medicine, and helped to establish the Faculty of Community Health (which later became the Faculty of Public Health). She was influential in ward healthcare design while setting up new hospitals in Milton Keynes, and helped to modernise the healthcare system across Oxfordshire.
  • As Regional Medical Officer, Rue campaigned for increased medical funding for Oxfordshire. She ensured that NHS funding was channelled into positions within the NHS which needed academic leadership, and worked alongside the Regius Professor Richard Doll to fund new academic chairs. 
  • One of Rue’s greatest legacies was her efforts to champion female doctors. She found 150 female doctors in the Oxford region who were insufficiently employed, and helped them to find work by setting up flexible part time training schemes, gaining the support of the Royal Colleges. In recognition of her work, she was elected president of the Medical Women’s Federation in 1982.
  • After her official retirement, Rue was President of the Faculty of Public Health, President of the British Medical Association, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Vice-President of the Alzheimer’s Society, and Chairman of the Margaret Pyke Trust. She became a Dame of the British Empire in 1989.

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