More women medics call

Dr Alenka Brooks
Dr Alenka Brooks
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A team of dedicated doctors and health care professionals have joined forces in Sheffield in order to combat the under representation of women in medicine.

More than half of all new medical students are female and 40 per cent of all doctors are women – but despite this, fewer than 28 per cent of consultants are women.

To try to address the imbalance, a new network – Sheffield Women in Medicine – has been launched by a group of junior and senior doctors at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and academics from Sheffield University, designed to inspire and support women at all stages of their careers.

Dr Alenka Brooks, a specialist registrar in gastroenterology, said there was a national need to understand the organisational and economic implications of increasing numbers of women in the profession.

“We know that there are very few women doctors on NHS boards as medical directors. In 2007 only 12 per cent of all clinical professors on university contracts were women and in 2006, six medical schools in the country had no female professors and just two out of 34 medical schools had female deans,” she said.

“There remains a significant under representation of women in senior leadership roles, academic positions, and some medical and surgical specialties within the NHS and university systems. Understanding the complex issues and challenges women face has significant implications for the future organisation and delivery of patient-centred care.

Dr Brooks added: “We hope that by creating an active community in Sheffield and beyond, we will establish a supportive network which strengthens through increasing organisational support and by nurturing women in medicine. In the long term we hope this will result in accessing significant untapped talent.”

The network’s inaugural event will be held on Thursday at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.