It has been a real pleasure and a privilege for me to serve on the RCOG Council in two very different roles spanning over 30 years. When I first stood for election as a London Members’ Representative I was still a senior registrar and was ‘put up to it’ by my then consultant John Studd, who was actively involved in College affairs. Much to my surprise I was elected to what was a very different Council. For two of the years in my first three-year term I was the only woman! How very different it is now. It took me a little while before I felt brave enough to stand and air my views in front of all of my senior Council colleagues, difficult to believe I know as I am usually so outspoken! But I soon realised how interesting the work is and how much I was able to contribute.
I sat on various committees, became an MRCOG examiner and tried to disseminate the College views to younger London members and bring their comments back to the Council meetings. I also very much enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the dinners and other College activities such as the Membership and Fellowship ceremonies, which provide a great opportunity for ‘networking’ with colleagues.
I have always continued to have an active interest in College affairs and have spoken at many College meetings. However, when I was re-elected to Council it was as an International Fellows’ Representative. At that time I thought it really important to promote urogynaecology which was poorly represented on the Council at that time and which in many parts of the world was and still is a grossly neglected subspecialty of obstetrics and gynaecology. In that role I have represented both the Middle East and now Europe, both of which are very different constituencies with different needs and views. It has helped me a lot that I have travelled widely and am fairly well known in those parts of the world. However, it is still difficult to represent the views of those overseas and help them with their often very different problems which they wish to bring to the College.
The College staff have always been absolutely fantastic, really supportive and have done all of the background work and provided all the necessary background information. Yes, there is quite a lot of reading to be done before each of the Council meetings and you do need to be prepared before you attend. If like me you like to know what is going on and to contribute to change, then it is well worth standing for a position on the College Council.
This is my last year and with only two more Council meetings to go, I feel sad that I will miss out on all of the interaction and ‘gossip’ and pleasant company of other like-minded individuals who choose to stand for election to College Council. So it is well worth putting your name forward - you would be surprised how often there are very few Members or Fellows standing for election from an individual region. There are times in all of our lives when we need the backing and support of a strong institution like the RCOG and, if there is an opportunity to help others, then surely it is our duty to do so.