Women doctors were rejected at first by the government, so many women turned to nursing or voluntary work in hospitals and began to play a valuable part in the war effort. As they nursed the wounded Tommies they felt close to their own brothers, fiancés and fathers who were fighting overseas.
Dr Grace Dundas, wife of Ramsgate’s Medical Officer of Health, took over his duties when he left for the front. In June 1915 the Thanet Times reported on her first annual report as Acting Medical Officer of Health which showed that in the latter half of 1914 the department was staffed almost entirely by women. The infantile mortality rate was 95 per 1,000 and there was little infectious disease reported. The Corporation had established a shellfish station where all shellfish intended for human consumption would be cooked. During the year good work was done on behalf of Ramsgate babies and also its tubercular patients. The officers in charge of the numerous troops entering Ramsgate were also thankful that the arrangements between the local health department and the army were efficiently managed by Dr Grace Dundas and her staff.