Welcome Dr Sally Davies MWF President 2014-2016

21 May 2014
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Dr Sally Davies talks... ABout becoming MWF President

The time for me to take over Presidency of the MWF hereSally Davies. It has been a fascinating experience to be President Elect since May 2012 but I had no idea how fast the time would pass and how quickly my turn would come around. I thought now would be a good time to introduce myself to the wider membership.

Welsh born of Welsh parents I can honestly describe myself as a purebred girl from Wales. Leaving my local comprehensive school to go to study medicine at Girton College, Cambridge was a big step and a wonderful, life changing experience. No opportunity was turned down including rowing for the Girton Medics boat. I moved on to Whitechapel, undertaking my clinical years at the London Hospital (not Royal then). The experience gained there was vast and wide ranging as befits such a historic cosmopolitan population.

My most important influence was a dynamic and friendly woman doctor who lived across the road. She was following a surgical career in the 1960's but changed to general practice when she married. Her friendship and support gave me the confidence to think that I could dream of being a doctor.

I have never regretted that choice as medicine is a broad field enabling everyone to find a niche that challenges and excites them both academically and practically. My path veered between, adult medicine, paediatrics, general practice and finally clinical genetics in accordance with my husband, the arrival of children and interesting opportunities that arose. I worked and trained less than full time for 20 years before developing a portfolio career including a substantial role in medical education.

I would like to dispel one myth, working less than full time is not an easy option. My despair at being described as "only part time" or being told by colleagues that "it must be nice to have days off in the week" provided a constant undercurrent.

Sallys Blog

My career path could not be described as ideal or routine but has meant that I have regularly changed direction and focus ensuring that interest and fascination is maintained. Whilst undertaking my MSc in Medical Education, my school age children were very supportive and constantly reminded me not to leave my assignments to the last minute!

My recent sabbatical period in New Zealand was a great experience, working with new people with different cultural and political pressures.

Working with MWF has been fantastic with laughter, frustration and pressure to represent women doctors on committees and in front of august bodies. The work of MWF goes on and I feel it is important to take forward the issue of the opportunities and benefits for the NHS, in all four nations, offered by the increasing female workforce and overcome the inequality and perceptions of old. Welcome to the 21st century and changing work practices which will benefit all working in the NHS irrespective of gender or other protected characteristic.

As I review my life in medicine and how investigations and therapies have changed drastically over that period, it always strikes me as remarkable that there is such opposition to changing working practices to follow current and more importantly the future needs of the population. Things were not great in the past and we need to help treat the advanced cases of 'nostalgitis imperfecta' that abound.

Sally DaviesAbove all, I must acknowledge the support of my husband (an anaesthetist) and four adult children whose encouragement and support I regard as vital in all that I do.

I am looking forward to the challenge and mindful of the great Presidents that have gone before. A look at the Roll of Past Presidents reminds me that I am really standing on the shoulders of giants and I will endeavour to lead MWF through the next two years to a stronger and brighter future.


Dr Sally Davies 

Consultant Geneticist, Cardiff


Medical Women's Federation
Tavistock House North,
Tavistock Square, London,
Tel: 020 7387 7765

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