Who is Clare Derry?
Clare Derry is my mother’s mum (my Grandma).She was also one of 5% of Doctors who were women in 1952. By 2008 50% of doctors were women. Clare went to Ireland to graduate as a doctor; this was because only a few medical schools accepted women and there were a large number of men discharged from the forces who were applying for places. When Clare graduated, the NHS had recently been founded by Aneurin Bevan in 1948. Clare graduated as M.B. (Bachelor of Medicine) B.Ch. (Bachelor of Surgery.) She did junior jobs in hospitals including obstetrics, in which she obtained a Diploma. Later she specialised in Dermatology (skin diseases). In 1963 she married John Derry and had two children: Catherine Whitlock, aged 50 and Thomas Derry, aged 46. She retired aged nearly 65- in 1994. She is still living in Ashtead, Surrey, with her husband.
Questions for Clare Derry:
What or who made you want to be a doctor?
There were Doctors in the family and I was impressed by the doctor that visited the family (the family doctor).
At what age did you decide you wanted to be a doctor? Was this a dream you had had all of your life?
In my earlier days of Mayfield, or, a bit earlier than Year 8’s at Rose Hill.
Was there a time when you just wanted to give up? If so when and why did you think this?
Yes! When I was sent to medical school in Ireland two weeks early, by my father, who had made a mistake in the date! I had little money and knew nobody.
When you finally graduated in 1952 did you feel as though a life of work had come to this day?
No. I felt that it was the beginning of a lot of work, not the end!
Which of your various different jobs as doctor did you enjoy the most? Which was the most interesting?
My later jobs were more interesting as I was more experienced.
When you were at Mayfield did your teachers disapprove or encourage the fact that you wanted to be a doctor?
My teachers discouraged me; I had to go to a different school for sixth form because Mayfield would not let me do three Sciences.
Was there a time when you regretted graduating as a doctor? If so when and why was this?
One had a great responsibility as a junior doctor and pressure-work was very hard. Also, in Obstetrics there was no limit to the work. I was all alone over the weekend and things happened quickly. This does not happen these days.
Do you approve of modern medicines and technology used in hospitals?
I think there is a little too much emphasis on diagnosis by machines rather than by physical examination. However on the whole diagnosis and treatment are vastly improved by machines.
by Mary (Year 8)