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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: August 2013

20 - The London Medical Schools


In 1967, all London medical schools were separate institutions based on their teaching hospitals, many of which had moved from their original central sites. Successive attempts at merger met resistance, but by 2000 there were just five undergraduate schools, all incorporated in large multi-faculty colleges with the exception of St George's.


In the north-west, Imperial College absorbed St Mary's Hospital in 1989 and in 1997 also took in Charing Cross and Westminster Hospitals (already merged in 1983).

Charing Cross Hospital

Early development of general practice teaching

Charing Cross Hospital medical school started in the mid-nineteenth century at the hospital building near The Strand, London. It was small, taking twenty to thirty new students annually. General practice teaching started in the 1950s when students were invited to stay with a general practitioner (usually an alumnus) for three weeks in their final year. Most practices were outside London (often rural), enabling students to experience the daily life of a general practitioner, including out of hours work and living with his family.

Charing Cross Hospital moved to Fulham in 1974, and the annual school intake increased to 120. The final-year general practice attachment expanded accordingly and the Dean, Professor Glenister, initiated plans for an undergraduate general practice teaching unit. The education committee of the north and west London faculty of the RCGP took great interest in the developments, especially as the GMC was threatening to remove accreditation from schools that did not have departments of general practice.