Dr Ranee Thakar, current Vice President of Global Health, has been elected as the next President of the RCOG.
She will take office in December 2022 and serve a three-year term as President.
“I commit my Presidency to focus on safety, fairness, and quality for women and those who care for them. As an experienced leader, clinician and educator, I will work collaboratively to find pragmatic solutions to the multiple challenges we face.”
Dr Ranee Thakar
Ranee Thakar is a Consultant Obstetrician and Urogynaecologist at Croydon University Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at St George’s University of London. Ranee has been Vice President of Global Health at the RCOG since December 2019, is co-chair of the College’s Race Equality Taskforce and has been a member of the RCOG Council since 2016. She is an experienced leader with a clear understanding of the operational, clinical and training demands that our speciality faces today.
Ranee was President of the International Urogynecological Association, transforming this large organisation with her inclusive leadership style by promoting innovation and collaboration, whilst maintaining a strong financial position despite the global pandemic.
Ranee has an impressive academic profile with over 200 publications and has made a significant contribution to improving perineal trauma outcomes by training obstetricians and midwives to provide safer maternity care for women globally. She leads the national RCOG/RCM OASI Care Bundle Project which has significantly reduced OASI rates. Regionally, Ranee leads the Perinatal Pelvic Health Project and Urogynaecology network for South-West London, developing multi-disciplinary collaboration with urologists, midwives, physiotherapists, nurses and GPs.
Ranee has a long-standing commitment to the RCOG, first serving as secretary of BSUG and then the Subspecialty Training Committee. Whilst honorary director of conferences, she significantly extended the breadth and scope of educational meetings. Subsequently, she was elected as RCOG Council representative for South Asia and later secured funding for an observer-ship programme for members from low-income countries to visit UK units.
Currently, as Vice President of Global Health, she has ensured close contact with the international membership throughout the pandemic, using digital communication platforms, thereby maintaining essential international support for the RCOG. As a passionate advocate for Women’s Rights, she and her team obtained grant funding to implement the Essential Gynaecology skills programme in Bangladesh. She leads the “Making Abortion Safe” programme, which promotes safe abortion and contraception in five sub-Saharan countries.
Ranee has a proven track record for supporting colleagues and is Chair of the RCOG Race Equality Taskforce. Along with members of her workstream, she has delivered on many initiatives including an e-learning module on tackling racism and is developing a coaching programme to develop racial support champions for our membership. As co-chair of the Women’s Network in her NHS Trust, she has tackled sensitive issues of gender, ethnicity, and pay inequalities, and introduced a mentorship programme for employees including menopause workplace support.
Ranee has the clinical skills, research, training and leadership experience to be an outstanding President. Her passion and commitment will ensure that the RCOG is recognised as the ‘go to place’ for women’s health.
Ranee’s vision statement for her Presidency
“Delivering safe, effective, equitable healthcare for women has always been a challenge. The pandemic continues to significantly exacerbate the difficulties, with disruption to service provision and staff burnout the inevitable consequences. Sustained and unprecedented pressure, allied to longstanding funding and staff shortages, have taken their toll on patients and colleagues alike. As your President I will tackle these challenges head-on, working collaboratively and collegiately to address staff support and development, workforce planning – and, crucially, funding.
“Women’s voices must be at the centre of their healthcare. Patients and families need more personalised care and accessible digital information; working with our community I will develop a toolkit to help deliver both. Ethnicity and deprivation also play their part, as I identified as co-chair of the Race Equality Taskforce and I will address these deep-seated issues. My strong research background informs my approach to directing women’s health improvement strategies, scaling up productive interventions and encouraging innovation. I will champion a life-course approach, shifting our focus from disease intervention to prevention. With maternity care under severe pressure, I will work with all stakeholders to align and streamline national investigations, recommendations, and actions. I will also ensure that ‘Supporting Our Doctors’ remains at the heart of what we do.
“Gynaecological services face unparalleled challenges with substantial UK-wide increases in both outpatient and surgical waiting lists. This has significantly affected training opportunities, prompting a predictably negative impact on service delivery and morale. The result? Potentially fewer obstetricians and gynaecologists in future.
No training today, no consultants tomorrow
“Optimising training opportunities is critical: just 9% of trainees progress to ST7 without interruption, so we need to support non-linear training progression and address rota gaps. My extensive clinical and teaching skills in obstetrics and gynaecological surgery gained here and abroad will be key as we work with the GMC and specialist bodies to review our training curriculum and service delivery model. We need bold solutions: I will set up a working party bringing together women’s voices and specialist O&G societies to find them.
“Our needs and expectations change throughout our careers, and we must be alert to this. I recognise and encourage the different contributions made by colleagues throughout their working lives: from the start of a career, supporting job planning and development through to retirement and pensions.
“The RCOG is a global community of diverse members demonstrating invaluable expertise and resource. We must harness this strength and talent to improve women’s health worldwide. As your current Vice President for Global Health, I am well-placed to develop international exchange programmes for practitioners at all levels to enhance their skills across different healthcare systems.
“In a long, rewarding career, no opportunity has mattered more to me than to be your RCOG President. Our backgrounds are many and diverse, but we all share one heartfelt aim: to improve the care of those we serve nationally and internationally. This is my pledge to you. I will listen, value, and support you to do just that.”