Fope, Medical Student
the conference has made me decide what medical specialty I want to go into, therefore I would say that it was invaluable and a life changing experience
The meetings are an excellent place to catch-up on important news for women in medicine and network with new friends.
Here are our latest blog entries and details of our running competitions. You may view our past blogs here. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to get the latest news straight away. The links are at the top of the page.
MWF writes and responds to crucial reports regarding issues affecting women in medicine. Take a look here for examples of issues we are currently working on.
Don't forget, if you have an issue you would like us to address, please get in touch!
MWF welcomes the news that MPs have voted in favour of legislation giving the health secretary power
MWF welcomes the news that MPs have voted in favour of legislation giving the health secretary powers to introduce a ban on smoking in cars with children. Read the publication of the 2010 RCP report, Passive smoking and children.
Every year, over 160,000 children are adversely affected by second-hand smoking, costing the NHS in England over £23 million. The introduction of a ban on smoking in cars with children will be a big step forward in protecting our children from the harm caused by passive smoking.
MWF is committed to the eradication of FGM*. MWF supports the UK Intercollegiate recommendations on FGM, produced in November 2013. These recommendations recognise the crucial role played by healthcare professionals in safeguarding girls and helping eradicate this practice in the UK. The key messages of the recommendations are that FGM should be treated as child abuse, the importance of data collection and data sharing between relevant agencies for effective action, and the need for professional care for girls and young women affected by this practice. MWF supports initiatives to meet the complex medical and psychological needs of women affected by FGM.
MWF urges its members to read these recommendations and work with colleagues to ensure that action plans are developed and implemented, and make a commitment to eradication of FGM in the UK.
In support of Fahma Mohamed's campaign to put education at the heart of tackling FGM, asking Michael Gove (Education Secretary) to meet with her and to put FGM on the school curriculum, we wrote to Michael Gove. Here is his response to us after meeting Fahma.
* Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ): all procedures involving removal of, or injury to, the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. it is practised mainly in 28 African countries , usually in childhood and often in unhygienic conditions and without anaesthetic. Due to migration of affected communities from countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia , Sudan and Somalia, an estimated 66,000 women in Uk are living with longterm consequences of FGM and 25,000 girls may be at risk.
20,000 girls in the UK are at risk from female genital mutilation. The practice was outlawed in Brit
20,000 girls in the UK are at risk from female genital mutilation. The practice was outlawed in Britain in 1985 and taking children out of the country to have it performed was made illegal in 2003. In spite of this, a growing number of female circumcisions are being carried out in the UK, often in school holidays so that no-one questions the girls’ absence.
MWF have always tried to raise the profile of this issue, and do so at every opportunity. The plight of women in Afghanistan, women victims of war, and the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, are other areas of interest.
MWF Past President Dr Helen Goodyear will become the Northern European Vice-President of the Medical Women's International Association (MWIA) in 2013. Dr Clarissa Fabre became MWIA's representative on the World Health Organisation in May 2012.
Currently only 46% of GPs are partners; of those who are not partners 76% would like to achieve part
Currently only 46% of GPs are partners; of those who are not partners 76% would like to achieve partnerships. What is needed urgently is a financial incentive for practices to take on new partners, so that general practice does not become a predominantly salaried service, run by entrepreneurial GPs and private companies.
Many women are entering general practice, but they must be prepared to take on leadership roles.
MWF have collected data about gender distribution in academic medicine, which shows that only thirte
MWF have collected data about gender distribution in academic medicine, which shows that only thirteen per cent of professors are female and two medical schools have no female professors at all.
We have highlighted the specific issues necessary to attract women into academic medicine to the government and to the Department of Health. We will lobby for more part-time positions in academic medicine, and will address the variability in maternity leave arrangements if transferring from an NHS to a University appointment.
MWF have annual meetings with the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) to ensure
MWF have annual meetings with the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) to ensure that women doctors are fairly represented on the committees which allocate the awards.
We are a nominating body for the awards, and run regular workshops on how to apply (‘Top Ten Tips’). Each year we invite women to submit their application forms to MWF before the closing date for scrutiny by an experienced committee of women consultants and academics.
Any money earned by a woman prior to 1988 does not count towards her widower’s pension, in stark con
Any money earned by a woman prior to 1988 does not count towards her widower’s pension, in stark contrast to that earned by a man. This anomaly applies not only to women doctors, but to all women working in the NHS. Many women are now the main breadwinner, and this situation is unjust and inequitable.
The BMA recently took a test case on this to the High Court. While the judgment found that this anomaly was indeed unfair it found that rectifying this would be too great an expense for the public. The BMA are considering appealing this decision and MWF's President Dr Clarissa Fabre wrote to the BMA to encourage them in continuing to push for this to be changed.
These issues have been identified as being central to the progress of women in medicine. Currently,
These issues have been identified as being central to the progress of women in medicine. Currently, although women are very well represented at consultant level (28%), they are less likely than men to reach leadership positions, such as presidents of the Royal Colleges or deans of medical schools. Women will often not apply for such positions unless actively recruited and encouraged, and this is one of MWF's most important roles.
Several MWF members formed part of the Working Group for the 2009 CMO report 'Women Doctors: Making
Several MWF members formed part of the Working Group for the 2009 CMO report 'Women Doctors: Making a Difference'. The report recommends tax relief on childcare, an effective Childcare Coordinator in every Trust, and better internet resources to provide local information on childcare, emergency cover etc.
The perspective of the father, and his potential contribution to the sustenance of his wife's career and the welfare of his children, are rarely considered. The major burden of childcare for the foreseeable future will fall on the mother, but the key issue (for parents and administrators) is that the period of intensive childcare is limited, and, once complete, both careers can proceed at full pace. There should be a debate about work and family life but if it focuses mainly on mothers, then that in itself is part of the problem.
Locum payments in general practice to cover a woman doctor during maternity leave, are at the discre
Locum payments in general practice to cover a woman doctor during maternity leave, are at the discretion of the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). Several PCTs have decided to pay nothing at all towards these locum costs (which are considerable). This will deter practices from employing a woman doctor.
MWF is campaigning for a national agreement, so that locum payments are uniform across the UK and are not left to the discretion of PCTs (or their successor), to ensure that practices are not penalised for employing a woman doctor. Women in hospital medicine should not have to continue night shifts beyond 28 weeks pregnancy, unless they wish to do so. However, they should be prepared to continue other on-call duties, such as weekends and Public Holidays, so that the extra burden does not fall on their colleagues. Ideally pregnancy should be cost-neutral to each general practice and Hospital Trust, and work-load neutral to colleagues.
A big problem at present in hospital medicine is that when a woman junior doctor or consultant goes on maternity leave, a suitable locum cannot be found (or the Trust does not wish to employ one for reasons of cost). Locum cover then falls on the remaining doctors, often for no extra pay, leading to resentment and sometimes victimization of the absent doctor. A possible solution is a centrally held 'Parental budget' to which Hospital Trusts and PCTs can apply, to cover the locum costs.
With the increase in the number of women entering medicine, workforce planning will be crucial. Most
With the increase in the number of women entering medicine, workforce planning will be crucial. Most women doctors are young and will have children (43% are under the age of 35). More part-time positions will be required.
Slot shares have become the preferred way of training part-time, but funding for super-numary posts will still be necessary, especially in smaller specialties. It should be accepted practice (i.e not at the discretion of local deaneries) for the parent of a child under the age of 3 to work less-than-full-time – either the mother, father or a combination of both – if he/she wishes.
Left to right: Dr Sara Khan, GP in Hertfordshire and Medical Woman Editor, Laura Grigis, Medical Student in Glasgow, Dr Joyce Popoola, Nephrologisn in London, Dr Sally Davies, Clinical Genetist Cardiff and MWF President.