Dr Lotte Newman obituary: Pioneering St John’s Wood GP who had ‘so much empathy’

Dr Lotte Newman. Picture: Aronsohn family

Dr Lotte Newman. Picture: Aronsohn family - Credit: Archant

After coming to London as a Jewish refugee before the Second World War, Dr Lotte Newman, who died on April 29 aged 90, was a pioneering woman doctor who rose to the very top of her profession.

Lotte became President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, was medical director of St John Ambulance, all while founding one of the best-loved doctors' surgeries in London and becoming a vocal advocate for women's rights.

Her son David Aronsohn told this newspaper: "She was a great role model and a feminist almost before feminism.

"She was kind, reserved too perhaps, but she was fun, and she always over packed for holidays."

Lotte's parents were both also doctors, and as war approached her father George had the foresight to qualify as GP in Glasgow. The family followed him to the UK in 1938.

Lotte, who was eight when they travelled over and knew little English, had earned herself a scholarship to North London Collegiate School just two years later.

North London would then play an essential role in her life - it is where she started practicing as a doctor, and where she lived - she raised a family and spent half a century in Finchley Road before moving to Highgate late in life.

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In 1968, with Tony Antoniou, Lotte founded the Abbey Medical Centre in St John's Wood- which has grown to serve a vast swathe of north London from Willesden to Swiss Cottage.

David added: "She was comfortable with people from all parts of society.

"As someone who had been a poor refugee from another country she had so much empathy for people in the same situation.

"We would go places and hear people tell wonderful stories."

Lotte also served on the Jewish Board of Deputies and David emphasised her faith was a key part of her life.

She wasn't afraid of upsetting people when she believed in something, either.

She campaigned with Victoria Gillick to ensure women could access female doctors if they requested, and fought for women's rights as a patient and a doctor throughout her life.

Lotte is survived by her husband Norman, children Simone, Simon, David and Alex, and seven grandchildren.