Wendy Greengross

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 02 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e8504
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Doctor, marriage guidance counsellor, and agony aunt whose ideas were always rooted in her experience of general practice

When Wendy Greengross and her husband Alex Kates opened their general practice in north London in 1955—one of the first group practices in the country—a reporter from the local paper came, uninvited, to have a look. He wrote a glowing review of this innovation, and suspicious local general practitioners reported the couple to the General Medical Council, accusing them of advertising.

The problem took several months to iron out, but it is an example of how, throughout her life, Greengross was keen to challenge convention and pioneer new ways of working. The practice even became the first in the country to employ a marriage counsellor and social worker.

“As a family physician she became more and more aware that sore throats and coughs and aches and pain often had something else behind them,” says her son, Nick Kates, a psychiatrist in Canada. This was also a key reason for setting up the group practice, as, says Kates, she saw the need for general practitioners to be working with other professionals.

Guidance of many kinds

Both …

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