Obituary: Dr Lotte Newman CBE (MWF Past President 1987-88)



dr lotte newman cbe obituary

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr Lotte Newman CBE PPRCGP died on Friday 26th April 2019 aged 90. She was Past President of the Medical Women’s Federation (1987-88), a champion of women’s roles and rights both as a doctor and patient in Primary Health Care nationally and internationally.

Her parents Tilly Meyer and George Neumann met in Frankfurt and both qualified as doctors. George had the foresight to travel to Glasgow (1933) and requalify as a doctor, to allow his wife, son, daughter and a cousin to travel to England in 1938 and escape the fate of many. She used to say "I remember the night we went. We were woken up, I presume it was after midnight, and dressed and told to be quiet and not make a noise and taken to the train. I don’t remember saying goodbye to anybody and I don’t remember all that much until we were on the train near the frontier and I presume it was a normal stop and my mother was taken off the train and then, I presume I was about eight, between seven and eight, and I was very conscious of the fear that my mother wouldn’t come back. I didn’t really quite know what it was all about." With her father established as a GP they avoided internment and started at a local school speaking little English. Two years later at 11 she had obtained a scholarship to North London Collegiate School. Lotte went to Birmingham and did a B.Sc. in Anatomy and Physiology thereafter qualifying at Westminster Medical School.

In 1968 Lotte and Tony Antoniou established The Abbey Medical Centre (an early primary care centre) in Abbey Road. Her NHS practice served patients in Kilburn, West Hampstead, St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage and Hampstead and Lotte was at the helm for 45 years. She herself complained that as a woman there were only two options: “if you speak out you’re a shrieking harridan, if you keep quiet you’re a shrinking violet.”

She was the first 20th century female president of the Royal College of General Practitioner’s (RCGP), Vice-President of Wonca, Jewish Woman of the Year, Medical Director of St. John’s Ambulance, Board of Deputies rep for her schul, Past President of the Medical Women’s Federation (1987-88), and a Board member of AXAPPP.

Newman attributed her remarkable success to “luck, very good support from my family, being prepared to be unpopular at times – and always being at least as well prepared as the men at meetings!”

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