Friday, 11 November 2011

11.11.11 Medical Womens Federation AGM Dinner at the House of Lords

11.11.11 one might think that a convention held on this date held only for women may be more aptly nicknamed the 'Witches' convention, and I was surprised that a former President of the Medical Women's Federation, indeed fondly calls this group 'the witches!' So it is a fond appellation we are allowed to use. 

The Medical Women's Federation was founded in 1917, 2 years prior to the medical men getting their act together in 1919. On 11.11.11 they held their AGM and dinner afterwards was served in the Cholmodeley Room at the House of Lords,  as guests of The Baroness Finlay of Llandaff. Here I am pictured with GP Dr Sara Khan, the Editor of the Medical Women's Federation magazine.

It was inspiring to be seated in between a year 6 specialist paediatrics registrar who had another 2 years to complete training (ie through year 8 to become a consultant); a former President of MWF (a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist) and her colleague, a consultant anaesthetist, all women. What astonished me was that if a consultant obstetrician chose to do private practice, UK malpractice annual insurance premiums start at £25,000! Gulp!

The winner of the most family friendly NHS trust was Kings College Hospital in South London, and we greeted the male chief executive Tim Smart who accepted the MWF award. It reminded me of, how over a decade ago, it was Kings who allowed me to work to fulfill my obstetrics and gynae rotation commitment as a flexible GP trainee with 3 small children, in other words allowed me to train part-time but on an extended basis. Well done Kings!

For a brief moment, it felt like a medical world full of female GPs and NHS hospital consultants, until I realised this only represented a microcosm and outside, women were still hitting a glass ceiling; these women were the fortunate, who had made it all the way up the predominantly male medical ladder in this country.