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Obituary: Vicky Mary Osgood

Consultant obstetrician Portsmouth; postgraduate dean Wessex Deanery; Director of Education & Standards General Medical Council (b 1953; q 1977; FRCOG, FRCGP, FRCPEdin), died from breast cancer on 23 March 2017

Vicky Osgood was an obstetrician, a mentor, and an educator. She took A levels in geography, biology, and history and an O level in use of English before first MB at the Royal Free. Her love of literature was exemplified when years later she provided a reading list of non-medical works for foundation doctors.

She trained as an obstetrician in London and conducted research into the endocrinology of fertility, followed by senior registrar and senior lecturer posts in Oxford, where she worked with Chris Redman for the Silver Star Society. Her husband, Danny, was offered a consultant post in Portsmouth, and Vicky followed him as consultant obstetrician specialising in fetomaternal medicine. Clinically she loved intrapartum care and continued her sessions on the labour ward until she left the trust to become dean of the Wessex Region. She was an unwavering advocate for joined-up midwifery and obstetric care in the trust, always placing the needs of the women and babies at the centre of everything she did.

Vicky’s skills as a mentor soon came to the fore, and she was instrumental in guiding the maternity service through a difficult transitional period, building a strong ethos of multidisciplinary practice, training, and respect. Her passion for education was formalised by studying for the Diploma in Medical Education at the University of Wales in Cardiff. She then swiftly became deputy, then director of medical education for Portsmouth. She forged a strong team encompassing nursing and other healthcare professions; and young doctors flocked to this busy district general hospital. Before leaving Portsmouth to become dean of Wessex, she had significant input into the design of the large maternity and gynaecology unit in the new PFI build at Queen Alexandra Hospital, and designed the postgraduate centre and multidisciplinary staff restaurant — centrally located in the hospital, where, as she predicted, it became the hub for formal and informal education and team building.

As postgraduate dean of Wessex, she took the deanery through many changes as specialist training evolved after foundation years. She was, however, no “tick box” administrator but an educationalist, who understood the value of the apprentice model in medical education and sought to build on the excellence of the past, while bringing education up to date in the modern world of standards, quality, increasing accountability, and patient safety. She brought this knowledge and influence as medical adviser to the workforce review team in 2005-08.

In June 2011, Vicky joined the General Medical Council as deputy director of education and standards. The GMC had taken over regulatory responsibility for postgraduate medical education from the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) in 2009-10. From the start, Vicky worked tirelessly to transform the perception of the GMC in the wider education world, and she was very successful. Already hugely respected by educationalists, educators, and trainees, Vicky became the “go to” person for a wide range of stakeholders. Her clinical career and her understanding of patient centred education meant that as she tirelessly travelled the country, she engaged with trainees, understanding their needs in both the educational and pastoral sense. By the time she took up the role of director of education and standards in January 2015, her vision of how postgraduate medical education could be delivered in the 21st century in a stressed NHS was well developed and indeed begun.

Despite episodes of ill health in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015, Vicky continued to lead a staff team, who valued her vision highly.

Her faith was strong and sustained her during her long battle with breast cancer. She and Danny were married soon after qualifying in 1977 and have three sons. She had a love of music and was a regular at Glyndebourne. She particularly enjoyed listening to the countertenor voice and organised a recording to be played at her funeral. All those who knew her over her varied career will miss her dedication, integrity, and sense of fun.

Dr Penelope Gordon, Mr David Davies