If I hadn’t got into medical school, I would have been a teacher. My journey with the RCOG started in 1998 with the College Tutor role and I hope to complete it as your VP for education 2019-2022.
Why do I want to be a Vice-President?
I have extensive educational experience starting with ‘less than full time training’ advisor on the Specialty Education Advisory Committee then Head of School representative, responsible for organising ‘externality’; where senior educators visit other deaneries. Valuable shared knowledge and dissemination of best practice made the ARCP process more uniform countrywide, to the trainees’ benefit. I will continue to support Schools because in my experience identifying and remediating poorly performing trainees at ARCP is challenging.
O&G trainees are still reporting bullying. As Head of School I taught educational supervisors about dealing with trainees in difficulty, giving feedback and avoiding bullying. Trainees undergoing remediation programmes feel undermined and I had personal experience of this when such a trainee accused me of bullying. On the day the College gave me the inaugural ‘trainer of the year’ award I was suspended by my Dean, pending investigation. I learnt from this that feeling undermined is not the same as being bullied, the educational supervisor’s role is crucial and senior educators need strong support when dealing with struggling trainees.
The implementation of our new curriculum is imminent. As TDP, then Head of School I supported trainees and their supervisors during the 2013 curriculum switch, but this curriculum is very different and senior encouragement is needed to help everyone through the transition.
The examination is our shop window. The desirability of the MRCOG post-nominal overseas brings our College worldwide influence and responsibility and I am keen to continue participating in this important work. I have been involved with exams since 2000 and will be a safe pair of hands.
I was Vice-Chair of the Exam Committee from 2014 when the problems occurred and stayed for an extra year to help repair the damage. Whilst the two investigations were uncomfortable, I saw clearly how much the College relies on the continuity and experience of its administrative staff and am impressed by the implementation of lessons learned. MRCOG candidate numbers are rising; DRCOG candidate numbers are falling and I have been party to the plans to deal with both issues.
I will foster good relationships with deaneries and trusts; having been a DME, Associate Dean and a GMC inspector I have a lot of relevant front-line experience.
In 2007, as Medical Women’s Federation President I learnt opportunism: the Chief Medical Officer produced his annual report called "Opportunity Blocks" about problems besetting women doctors. I initiated a working group chaired by Baroness Deech and its 2009 report "Women doctors; making a difference" has implications for the high attrition rate in our specialty.
I can make this commitment to the College as I have recently reduced my clinical work by two days per week. I am ready for the job!