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Women's Voices newsletter August 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of the newsletter and, as always, a particular welcome to new members of the Involvement Panel.

  1. Foreword
  2. New curriculum consultation open
  3. Get involved with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC)
  4. OASI project update
  5. Embedding equality and diversity in the work of the College


As the Patient and Public Involvement team at the College, we are delighted to be writing this foreword, which is a great opportunity to say thank you for your involvement with the RCOG.

The Women’s Voices Involvement Panel continues to grow in numbers as does its impact on the College’s work to improve women’s health, and it’s the commitment and passion of members that makes that possible.

We are very pleased to be consulting on the draft O&G curriculum. The details of how to contribute are included in this newsletter. You may remember the engagement we started last summer which included a workshop and online consultation to find out what the important skills and knowledge are for O&G specialists to have from the perspective of those who use the service. Now is the chance to see if these themes that were highlighted have been captured effectively and that the draft curriculum is a framework that will ensure consultants are trained to deliver the best care possible to women. Please do review and submit comments if you can.

Over the last couple of months we have welcomed new members of the RCOG Women’s Network. It has been great to get to know new members and we look forward to working with them throughout their term. They bring a wealth of experience and skills and, no doubt, the committees and projects they will be involved with will benefit immensely.

We have been pleased to see so many Women’s Voices members actively engaging in discussions on our Facebook group. It is such a good way for us and our colleagues to get a deeper understanding of current issues and of what is important to women. We do an analysis of the online discussions and highlight any ‘hot topics’ or emerging issues which Kate Brian, the College’s Women’s Voices Lead, often highlights to RCOG Council, which she sits on. The College’s President, Lesley Regan, Officers and Council members find this a very useful way of hearing what issues are being highlighted and discussed by Women’s Voices. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, please do.

We wish you well for the rest of the summer and look forward to many opportunities for your involvement over the coming months.

Kerri & Matt
RCOG Patient and Public Involvement team


Give feedback on the proposed new curriculum for trainee consultants

The draft new curriculum is now available for anyone with an interest in O&G to comment on. We would very much encourage Women’s Voices to take a look and provide feedback.

You can give feedback via "Survey questions for wider stakeholders" on the Curriculum 2018 page:

This page includes:

  • Key facts about the new curriculum
  • Presentation on the new curriculum
  • A short statement from the Core Curriculum Committee for wider stakeholders
  • Full consultation document (this includes the full new draft curriculum)
  • Public Insight Group findings mapped to new curriculum

The deadline for "wider stakeholders" feedback is Sunday 12 August 2018.

Many thanks in advance for your feedback. Women’s Voices and the wider public have already played a vital role in developing the framework and will continue to do so at this stage too!

How have Women’s Voices been involved so far?

Last year we convened the Specialists of Tomorrow Public Insight Group specifically to inform the new curriculum from the perspective of the public. This group comprises of a wide range of people who use O&G services with varying characteristics and experiences. A core sub group attended a workshop where they explored the important skills and knowledge they felt crucial for an O&G specialist to develop during their seven year training. A wider online group also provided feedback on this.

This insight from those who use the service – along with the expertise of current specialists, trainees and other health professionals – has since been used to inform the proposed content.

How else are we gaining public feedback during the consultation?

Members of the Public Insight Group are coming together again during this consultation phase, along with members of the College’s Women’s Network, through online webinar sessions. They will be exploring whether they feel what they have so far identified as being of key importance is adequately captured within the new curriculum. This further feedback will also be used to inform the draft before it goes to the General Medical Council for approval.


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Get involved in the work of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) is the coordinating body for the UK and Ireland’s 24 medical Royal Colleges and Faculties. The RCOG is a member.

The AoMRC ensures patients are safely and properly cared for by setting standards for the way doctors are educated, trained and monitored throughout their careers.

The Academy is developing its own public involvement group called the Academy Stakeholder Reference Group, and is inviting members of the various Colleges’ stakeholder groups to join. Click here to sign up

What is the Academy Stakeholder Reference Group?

The group is being set up in order for the Academy to have a wider range of ways of engaging with patients/lay/consumer representative.

The group will receive regular emails from the Academy with information on the latest work involving patients at the Academy, opportunities to give their views, invitations to attend occasional events, and join Academy Committees as required. The group will bring together representatives from across the medical specialties.

What will it involve in terms of time commitment for its members?

Involvement is flexible, and members of the group can decide after reading emails if they want to give views, attend events or join a Committee. Further to this, you would contact the Academy to agree to participate further and this participation would then be agreed between you and the Academy. If you have more questions before joining contact Kate Tansley at the Academy please

Click here to sign up


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OASI project update

Gwyn Eanor, a lay representative on the OASI Project’s Advisory Group, and Posy Bidwell, a Clinical Research Fellow working on the project, give an update on the OASI Project.

Gwyn: The OASI Care Bundle Quality Improvement Project has been up and running for two years now since receiving funding from The Health Foundation. All 16 participating maternity units have attended Skills Development Days at the RCOG and have rolled out the care bundle in their units. As the end of the funding period comes to an end at the start of 2019, the Project Team are now collecting large, back-dated data extracts from each unit and have begun analysing the results.

Throughout the project the team have also been collecting other data, through focus groups, interviews with the local clinical champions, interviews with women giving birth in the units and questionnaires. These will also undergo analysis and look like they will provide really interesting and valuable insight into rolling out a project such as this.

The project has received a lot of positive feedback from those involved but has also generated a lot of debate and discussion. Some of these queries will be answered by the evaluation, however we hope that the discussions will go on and there will continue to be a focus on OASI. In November there will be an event held at the RCOG to share results with clinicians working in this area as well as other stakeholders and the hope is that this will act as a catalyst for positive change.

As well as producing interesting findings through its evaluation, the project has also identified gaps in resources in the area. As part of the sustainability activities, further information for women relating to recovery, awareness videos and resources for clinicians are all in the pipeline as a result of the momentum and interest in the project.

Posy: As part of the evaluation of the project our evaluation team have interviewed around 20 women who have given birth in the participating maternity units. The purpose of this was to explore their experiences of the care bundle as well as prompt them to describe memories of their birth. For recruitment of these women, we have had to be quite specific in the criteria that makes them eligible to take part in the interviews so that we could ensure that their experiences were relevant. This is an incredibly valuable part of our project and we look forward to sharing these findings with you.

You can read more about the project on the OASI Care Bundle web pages:


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Embedding equality and diversity in the work of the College

Nawsheen Boodhun speaks about her experience of being a lay representative on the College’s Equality and Diversity Committee:

I strongly support diversity and equal opportunities for all and I believe that these factors should form a strong basis for our society to build upon and thrive. It is through diversity and equality that true success can be achieved.

I was absolutely thrilled and honoured to be appointed as a Lay member representative of the Equality and Diversity Committee at the RCOG. I was motivated to apply for the position as the aims and goals of the Committee greatly resonate with me. I wanted to join a team which holds ethics and strong principals at its core.

At the heart of the Committee rests the dissemination of good practice and ensuring that the work programmes, activities and products of the College and all of its committees are inclusive and compliant of the Equality Act 2010 and with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).

As a member of the Committee, I meet with a very inspirational group of individuals that includes the Committee Chair, Cath Broderick (former Chair of the RCOG Women’s Network), along with staff members of the College and Clinicians. Together we work towards various goals which include increasing membership of people with protected characteristics on committees and encouraging women and under-represented groups of clinicians to apply for positions at the RCOG.

We recently put into motion the recruitment of Equality and Diversity Champions for all of the College’s committees to aid in ensuring equality and diversity matters are taken into consideration and to monitor the implementation of PSED.

In a recent workshop, which also included members of the Women’s Network, we assisted in developing tailored training packages for committee Chairs and members taking into account different needs such as audio, visuals and accounting for neurodiversity.

Together, we hope to achieve and maintain inclusivity in all aspects of the College and its activities.

Nawhseen (centre) recently attended an E&D workshop with Women’s Network members Shona Davison (left) and Ruth Unstead-Joss (right)

Women’s Network member Shona Davison speaks about her involvement with the committee:

My sister Maria spotted an advert to join the Women’s network at RCOG. It seemed the perfect role for us so we applied jointly and in June attended our first meeting. It was a fantastic experience for both of us and we hope we will have a positive impact on O&G services.

I have a lot of experience of using O&G services as a disabled woman. It took six cycles of IVF, one traumatic birth and one straight forward birth to get my two children. I have myotonic dystrophy (muscular dystrophy) and three years ago I realised I was autistic. The autism diagnosis was a huge revelation. I’ve been able to look back over my whole life and make sense of so many misunderstandings. The knowledge I have gained since then puts me in a really strong position to advocate for myself and others in similar situations. People who are treated unfairly – not intentionally – but as a result of ignorance.

Recent events in my life, my MA in autism and daily engagement with disabled people mean I am acutely aware of how members of marginalised sectors of society do not have access to basic services that others take for granted  healthcare is an example.

For example, a barrier could be phone anxiety – ‘is it really necessary to insist that people accessing health services phone to book an appointment?’ An inclusive service will offer alternative communication options like email or text. You do not need to have a diagnosis of anything to struggle with phone calls. There are many similar, inexpensive changes that could be introduced if people only knew of the benefits.

As part of my role on the Women’s Network I attend Equality and Diversity committee meetings with Ruth Unstead-Joss, also a Network member, and Nawsheen. So far, I have enjoyed learning about the work that is already being done in this area and I look forward to being involved in future plans.

My hope is that my presence at RCOG will lead to disability (particularly hidden disability) and neurodiversity being recognised by more members. Humans tend to be bad at empathising with those who are different from themselves which is why it is critical that people from marginalised communities have their voices heard. As an autistic disabled woman I have a lot to say and I am grateful for the opportunity.


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