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Obituary: Vicky Mary Osgood Dubois

Better known to us as Vicky Osgood the Postgraduate Dean for Wessex and latterly the Director of Education and Standards at the GMC. I knew her when I became Postgraduate Dean for London and we often met as a group to discuss, debate and worry over the complex issues of ensuring the quality of education for the next generation. Vicky’s route to postgraduate medical education was through obstetrics and gynaecology with a strong foundation from her Christian beliefs. I have taken from the Eulogy given by the Chaplain of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to bring to you an essence of who Vicky was.

After leaving Queen Ann’s School in Caversham, Vicky went to the Royal Free Hospital as a medical student, whilst there she realised that her vocation was to work in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Whilst she was at the Royal Free, she helped to support herself by doing night shifts as a nursing assistant with the Mary Jones Nursing Home in Roehampton. It was during this time she met her future husband Danny Dubois. They married in the small church in Greenham Common in 1977.

After time spent in London after qualifying they left London, much to Vicky’s annoyance, when Danny obtained a position in the Oxford hospitals. By 1990 Vicky was a senior registrar in O & G, researching fertility and in particular endocrine aspects of fertility.

Vicky could be very persuasive, strong and politely forceful as she showed to the chaplain when he approached her about the difficulties he was having in getting the consultants to change the way that women were managed at the time of stillbirth, miscarriage or other loss. Working closely together helping staff with training and teaching all aspects of bereavement in this area they overcame resistance, changes were made and care improved.

When Vicky became a junior obstetric consultant at the JR, Danny was applying for consultant post around the country. He remembered her asking him to say some prayers as 2 hospitals in the North have advertised for consultant posts; don’t pray too hard that he’ll get one! He didn’t and they moved to the Portsmouth hospitals. Vicky applied for a consultant post in Portsmouth – she was appointed and became the first female obstetrician in Portsmouth! Her life experience enabled her to approach the practice of obstetrics where she made the midwife an integral part of the care for all women. This led to her advocacy of multidisciplinary education in her later role as educator. She became Director of Medical Education in the Portsmouth hospitals and not long after that became Dean of Wessex and later Assistant Director for Postgraduate Education at the GMC. Whilst in this post Vicky became a Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh; part of the Citation read, “Dr Osgood is an outstanding figure in medical education and training in the UK. Quite apart from her considerable achievements..., she has been a wise counsellor and an effective bridge between colleges, deaneries and the GMC. She is a powerful advocate in all she does for patients, doctors in training and trained doctors.”

Vicky was to become the Director of Education and Standards at the GMC where sadly she was unable to finish the changes she set out achieve.

Many people have said to me how impressed they were with Vicky; she was always calm, knowledgeable, and always had a professional demeanour. In a letter from Suzy Leather written to Vicky about 18 months ago, she said “You bring that rare thing – wisdom.”

Others have said that the GMC and the wider NHS community have benefitted hugely from her dedicated professionalism and hundreds and hundreds have been touched by her expertise, kindness and devoted care that she brought to all that she did. Vicky was seen as a superb colleague; yes she was passionate about her role, always putting 100% effort into it in the hope she could improve the NHS.

Vicky will be remembered as someone who made a huge difference, a remarkable person who probably did not quite appreciate how well respected, or how widely, she became in her life. She was a great listener but not frightened to challenge or disagree.

Another colleague, in a letter to Danny, said “There is at present, no-one of her stature or understanding to replace her.”

Vicky was one of those people who got on with life, quietly, thoughtfully, competently, compassionately, with good humour and professionalism. She loved opera attending as many performances at Glyndebourne as she could. Travelling was also something she enjoyed. She is remembered in her village as an ordinary church member, playing her role in the life of the church with the Mothers Union. It was important to her, it was her parish church – a place that enabled her faith to deepen and grow and a place where so many friends have helped support her through her illness that she bore so bravely.

Vicky leaves her husband of 40 years and 3 grown sons who will miss her sorely. She contributed so much to Postgraduate Education and there was so much more that she could and would have given. Her legacy will live on, not shouted from the treetops but whispered by all those who she has touched both knowingly and unknowingly.

D Hamilton-Fairley
June 2017