President of York Medical Society 2019-20

Professor James Drife


Welcome to our website! The meetings for our 188th session are detailed below and I very much hope you’ll be able to come to some – or perhaps all – of them. We have a mixture of world-class speakers from around the UK and local talent in the form of students and trainees, whose presentations are always stimulating.

York Medical Society is run by local doctors for local doctors and our fortnightly meetings are relaxed and convivial. Our definition of “local” is flexible – particularly in my case as I still live in Leeds, where I was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I joined the Society because, after years of attending official meetings and specialty-based conferences, it came as a breath of fresh air.

Ours is one of the oldest medical societies in the country but I believe it is more relevant than ever today, when GPs, consultants and medical academics rarely meet together and doctors are increasingly isolated and stressed by targets and monitoring.

Some of our meetings will be relevant to your own CPD/CME but all will give you a broader perspective of the profession. Best of all, I feel, is the camaraderie that comes from chatting, perhaps over a glass of wine, with fellow-doctors whom you would otherwise never meet, and discovering how interesting and amusing they are.

We are particularly keen to encourage younger doctors to become involved, despite the pressures of family commitments. A Friday evening in Stonegate is a great way to unwind at the start of the weekend!

Upcoming Events

Dear Members,

It’s now clear that we must also cancel this session’s two remaining meetings, originally scheduled for 24th April and 15th May. We may be able to include one or both talks in a future programme. The 15th May meeting should have included our Annual General Meeting, and the AGM will be held as soon as it is safe to do so. The President-Elect, Dr Jonathan Evans, and I have agreed to adhere to the planned handover date, and Jonathan will take over as YMS President on 15th May. He and I will continue to liaise closely (but electronically) before and after that date. I’ll keep you informed of any developments during the next two months and I am of course very sorry that self-isolation will prevent us from meeting in person.

Best wishes
James Drife, President

The Society has its own rooms within a beautiful Grade II listed building in the heart of the City of York. The priceless medical library has been moved and housed with The University of York for safe keeping.

Within 23 Stonegate and the York Medical Society's Rooms there is a large lecture theatre seating up to 60 people with modern projection facilities, a library and a dining room. An oak paneled room serves as a refectory.

Over 350 medically qualified personnel both in Hospital and General Practice. Retired professionals actively maintain contact with the Society. Both old and new members are cordially invited to our regular Friday evening meetings.

Martin House Glitter Ball Auction

This is the 15th year they have hosted this flagship event - the Martin House Glitter Ball. It's their most glamorous event of the year, with a black-tie champagne reception, a delectable three-course dinner and plenty of dancing!

Martin House cares for children and young people with life-shortening conditions, offering respite and palliative care. The hospice is a place of support, rest and practical help for children, young people and their families, but most importantly, it's a place of love and understanding.

In 2018, the Glitter Ball raised a staggering £137,000 for our hospice, helping them to provide the best possible care and support we can to families across our region. Currently, they care for over 400 children and young people, and provide bereavement support to a further 170 families. Their hospice costs in excess of £8 million to run each year, and this year, they hope to raise £160,000 through the Glitter Ball.

To find out more visit

York Medical Society Wine Club

What is the Wine Club?

The 17 century cellars of the York Medical Society are home to an extensive collection of the wines of the York Medical Society Wine Club. There are 70-80 different wines available for purchase by members of the wine club. There are regular Wine Offers and regular Wine Tastings.

Founded by Alan Scott and Stuart Calder in 1978, the Wine Club was established with the intention of finding top quality wines at reduced prices. It is now run by Stuart Calder, with the aid of the wine club committee. We are a non-profit making enterprise and each member purchases a £50 share on joining the Club. This share acts as the buying capital for the wines, and a small mark-up on each bottle pays for any administrative costs. Please note that only members can buy from the club.

Who finds the Wines?

Many of the wines are specially imported by the Wine Club and enjoy an exclusivity in the U.K. Stuart makes three trips each year to France or Italy to discover new gems for the club. The samples from these trips are then tasted blind by the committee, and the best value wines are chosen for importation. Wines from other countries are discovered by attending the better trade wine tastings each year.

BBC Programme filmed at 23 Stonegate

This programme was filmed at the Medical Society Rooms, 23 Stonegate.

Dr Alice Hall of the University of York explores the fears and fascination associated with people labelled 'feeble-minded' in early twentieth century fiction and culture. She argues that William Faulkner's novel, The Sound and the Fury tries to imagine an inside perspective on cognitive difference - and that this remains an important example for writers today.

This is one of a series of films made as part of New Generation Thinkers: each year producers from BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts, together with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, select a group of young academics who have the potential to turn their ground breaking ideas into sensational broadcasting.

Room Rates

Private Hire: £95-£180
Registered Charity: £55-£95
Members: £30-£60
  • Lecture Theatre This room is the principal lecture room seating up to 60 people. A projection screen, lectern and dais are in situ. Alternative seating arrangements are possible.
Garden Room
Private Hire: £85-£135
Registered Charity: £45-£75
Members: £25-£40
  • A more contemporary room overlooking our beautiful walled garden. Normally laid out in board-room style, this room is ideally suited to formal meetings, seminars and break-out space from the theatre.

Image Gallery

Latest News

Annual Oration 6th October 2018


About YMS

York Medical Society was founded in 1832 for "The purpose of promoting and diffusing medical knowledge". Over the many years since, many distinguished Doctors and Surgeons have been members and given lectures to the Society.

Contact Us

  • 23 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AW
  • 01904 849821