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Michael James Vendy Bull

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 09 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7265
  1. Charles Bull

Michael James Vendy Bull was born at Waterstock in Oxfordshire. The elder son of a yeoman farmer, he was educated at Lord Williams’ Grammar School, Thame, then at St Edward’s School, Oxford. In his teens, he was interested in the mechanisation of farm machinery, then mostly horse drawn. He designed and built a hydraulically operated front loader for the farm tractor which was used for many years. On leaving school, he read natural sciences (Hons) at University College, Oxford, and completed his clinical training at the Radcliffe Infirmary, qualifying in December 1950. After two junior house appointments at the Radcliffe, he did a three year short service commission in the Medical Branch of the Royal Air Force, serving at fighter command station at Tangmere in West Sussex. The large number of service families there was his introduction to general practice, and on his release he returned to Oxford to undertake a six month appointment in obstetrics at the Churchill Hospital. In 1956 he joined an old established practice in East Oxford, becoming a full partner in 1958. With his family, he lived in the practice house in Iffley Road for 10 years, until the practice was able to move to the newly built East Oxford Health Centre. He then built a new house for his family in Risinghurst, Headington.

His principal interest in practice was obstetrics, and in 1965 he initiated the provision of the 12 bed Oxford GP maternity unit, staffed by GPs and community midwives, alongside the maternity department at the Churchill Hospital. In 1972 this unit became fully integrated in to the new John Radcliffe Maternity Hospital, and he supervised and audited it for another 20 years. He was appointed a hospital practitioner in obstetrics during this time and submitted several papers and monographs on the subject. In 1980 he was awarded the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Butterworth gold medal for an essay entitled, “The GP Accoucheur in the 1980s,” and during the same year he was elected a fellow of the college. During the 1980s he was the GP member on the council at the Royal College of Obstetricians in London and was also a member of its examining body for the diploma in obstetrics. In 1984 he exchanged practices for six months with a GP in Christchurch, New Zealand, and made many valued friends and colleagues in that country. His other major interest in practice was minor surgery, and three years after his retirement, an illustrated handbook, Surgical Procedures in Primary Care, was published by Oxford University Press.1 Predeceased by one daughter, he leaves Ida, his wife of 61 years; two daughters; a son; and nine grandchildren.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7265


  • Former general practitioner Oxford (b 1926; q 1950; MA Oxf, FRCGP, DObst RCOG), d 21 October 2013.


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