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Maureen McFarland

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 23 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5945
  1. Chris Blake, Heather-Louise McCluggage, Olga Elder

Maureen McFarland grew up in a small seaside town on the north coast of Ireland with two brothers and sister, the children of a Presbyterian minister. In 1976 she left her beloved beach for the city to study medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating in 1982 with a commendation in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She was going to stay single and be a medical missionary; during her training she did serve in a mission hospital in Malawi for six months, and Africa stayed close to her heart; but there were other plans already laid for her life, and a certain young orchestral French horn player was delighted when she decided to stay at home and train as a general practitioner. After GP training she worked in oncology and radiotherapy for a while and flirted with the idea of further training, but reverted to general practice and family planning (as it was known at that time).

Maureen was never content with the status quo, always keen to push the boundaries of clinical practice, and renowned for her multitude of practical skills. While still working part-time in general practice, Maureen became a family planning doctor, initially working one session each week in Jubilee Maternity Hospital. Her many achievements included the following.

In 1993 she was the first doctor trained …

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