Women make up the majority of nursing and GP practice staff, including leadership roles with 11 of the 15 primary care networks (PCNs) in the city led by women, in the role of clinical directors.
Since the rollout of the covid vaccination began last December, these clinical directors, and their teams, have helped the city’s efforts in vaccinating 190,000 people so far.
Now women who have played key roles within the NHS’ response to coronavirus in Sheffield have spoken out about the value of the work done by their colleagues, and highlighted the struggles women have faced.
Dr Lucy Cormack is the Clinical Director for the Sevenhills Primary Care Network.
She said: “The whole year has been a challenge with the additional demands of work and looking after three kids who have been at home. I have spent weekends at the surgery waiting for deliveries of the vaccine and vaccinating people, but I am one of those people who loves coming to work and seeing the difference you are making, and with the knowledge that you are doing your bit to find a path out of the pandemic.
"As a GP, I have noticed that the last year has been particularly hard on women. My female patients are more likely to be anxious and worried about the wellbeing of their relatives and this has an impact on their mental health.”
Dr Jennie Joyce, is the Clinical Director of Foundry Primary Care Network and a GP in one of the most diverse areas of Sheffield. She was responsible for setting up the first vaccination clinic in a mosque in the whole of Yorkshire.
She said: “It has been a particularly challenging year to be in a leadership position in primary care but we are really fortunate to have some great female role models in leadership positions both locally and nationally.
"We know that some women have concerns about taking up the vaccine but we would like to reassure people that there is no evidence to suggest it will affect fertility.”
Lisa Renshaw is an infection prevention and control (IPC) nurse from NHS Sheffield CCG. She has achieved national recognition as a co-author of the covid-19 infection prevention and control training package which is being used by care homes nationwide.
She said: “This year has required determination and resilience to work through the exceptional circumstances we have faced. It has strengthened us as an IPC team and we are more determined than ever to continue to promote and raise infection prevention standards in Sheffield.
"Our work in supporting care homes in Sheffield is ongoing and it was an honour to be able to play my part.”
Lesley Smith, Accountable Officer at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have remarkable women, at every level, who have led the way in our response to the pandemic and in the vaccination programme. I’d like to pay tribute to their achievements.
"They have been amazing and we are all immensely proud and grateful for their contribution throughout the year and International Women’s Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on their efforts.”