Dr George Ramsey Phillips

Personal Details

Dr George Ramsey Phillips FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

17/09/1880 to 08/04/1953

Place of birth: Walsall, Staffordshire

Nationality: British

CRN: 715263

Also known as: Ramsey

Education and qualifications

General education

Rossall School, Lancashire; Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After posts in Rotherhithe, Brighton and Birmingham Phillips returned to London to spend three years as resident anaesthetist at St George’s Hospital. He then acquired appointments at several hospitals before serving with the RAMC as a Captain in France during WW1. After the war he was appointed anaesthetist and lecturer in anaesthetics at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington where he was based for the rest of his career, although during WW2 he worked for the Emergency Medical Service at Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. He retired after the war.

Professional interests and activities

Dental anaesthesia was a special interest in the early part of his career, and in 1921 he was summoned to Buckingham Palace to anaesthetise Queen Mary. He was active in the Section of Anaesthetics, RSM (honorary secretary, 1922-4; president, 1931-2) and chaired the Council meeting at which Magill first raised the possibility of establishing a diploma examination. This initiative led, eventually, to the establishment of the AAGBI and Phillips was one of the first two people whom Featherstone consulted about that, as well as being a member of its inaugural council. He was awarded the DA without examination in 1936. Recognised as possibly the safest anaesthetist in London, Phillips’s early career was very successful, but he became increasingly intolerant of working with surgeons who, especially in that era, considered ‘direction’ of the anaesthetic very much part of their responsibility. The results were first, a decrease in calls for his services and second, consequent financial difficulties. His last years seem to have been spent in somewhat straightened circumstances.

Other biographical information

Phillips married Flora Green, a ward sister at St George’s, and they had four children, the eldest (Charles Garrett) becoming a noted neurophysiologist. In their home he developed equipment for taking dental radiographs and a fully equipped engineering workshop where, among many other items, he developed the Phillips airway, an improved modification of Hewitt’s.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Porter R. Charles Garrett Phillips. Biogr Mems Fell R Soc 1996; 42: 340-62 | Haridas RP, Wilkinson D. The Phillips Airway. Anaes & I C 2012; 40 (Supp): 28-31 | Scurr CF. Evolution and revolution in anaesthetic training. Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1971; 48: 274-92 | Boulton TB. The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland 1932-1992. London, AAGBI. | Cope Z. History of St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. London, Heinemann: 1954 | I thank the archives of Rossall School and Imperial College for additional information.