Skip to main content

Deborah Harrington MRCOG

Statement for Vice Presidential election 2019

Deborah Harrington thumbnailThe RCOG is accountable to its members. For the college to be the go-to authority for both clinical and professional guidance, I believe it must focus on the quality of its core activities and evolve to meet both current challenges and future needs. To maintain and build on our national and global reputation, the college must prioritise a membership agenda. Getting the basics right - embedding robust governance, investing in high quality digital transformation, prioritising training, examinations, patient safety and workforce gaps - will provide the framework for a more efficient service and value for our members.

I am a Consultant Obstetrician and MFM Subspecialist at Oxford University Hospital in one of the largest maternity and women’s health departments in the country (more than 8000 deliveries per annum). I was Clinical Lead for the Maternal Medicine service for ten years. I was College Tutor in Oxford and am now Head of School for HEE Thames Valley. My clinical and education experiences mean I understand the challenges for trainees, members and fellows.

The pressures facing our specialty are well known; the impact on both doctors’ lives and the quality and safety of patient care is one of our biggest challenges. The RCOG must provide leadership and meaningful advocacy on workforce planning, gaps, attrition rates for trainees and loss of senior clinicians through early retirement.  Bullying, harassment and burnout are commonplace in our specialty and negatively impact both patient safety and doctors’ working lives. The evidence supporting effective team working and positive environments leading to improved patient safety and better clinical outcomes is clear. As a vice-president I would continue the RCOG’s work to lobby government, collaborate with partners such as the Academy of Royal Colleges and influence Health Education England in shaping our future workforce.

The move to Union Street is an opportunity to evaluate the different needs of trainees, fellows and members in the UK and globally as we progress through our working lives. To remain connected, the college must offer a variety of benefits to support obstetricians and gynaecologists throughout our careers. 

As Head of School, I am a member of SEAC. I am also the member’s representative for Thames Valley and Wessex on the RCOG Council.  I am currently the member’s representative on the financial and general purposes committee and have served on the clinical quality board. I am an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Oxford.

I have experience at senior level in standard setting, partnership working, and innovation.  I am on the National Working Group and a Course Director for mMOET (Managing Medical Obstetric Emergencies and Trauma). I am the Trust lead for multiprofessional obstetric emergencies training, involving over 500 colleagues from five different staff groups annually. I belong to a small medical charity travelling to Gaza annually to teach and collaborate with doctors and midwives to introduce multiprofessional training in obstetric emergencies.

I believe my knowledge, experience and common sense make me an ideal choice for the role of vice president for membership.


CV – Deborah Harrington (PDF 146kb)


Video statement