International Women's Day 2017 - Be Bold For Change

Print Email
08 March 2017


internationalwomensday landscape

International Women’s Day is especially significant for MWF this year as we celebrate our centenary in 2017. Today and every day we are grateful for the hard work of the pioneering medical women who came before us and as an organisation we strive to move forward, pushing for equality and fairness for women in medicine.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Be Bold For Change’, a principle that MWF was founded upon. In 1917, 190 women coming together at a time when it was difficult to have your voice heard as a woman, let alone as a woman in medicine, is nothing short of inspiring.

Today we celebrate medical women and their past achievements and we look forward to a bright future. We encourage you to nominate a friend or colleague or put yourself forward for our 100th Anniversary Prize. We are awarding three prizes, to a senior established doctor, an established doctor and an up and coming doctor to celebrate the diversity of our membership and shout about your achievements. Click here to download the nomination form.

Statement: MWF Supports Junior Doctors' Concerns

Print Email
09 September 2016

The Medical Women’s Federation (MWF) supports the junior doctors’ concerns. Sir Bruce Keogh commented to the HSJ (2016) that Doctors in training “currently feel like itinerant workers: they move from institution to institution rapidly, sometimes only spending four months in an individual placement”. This leads to a lack of continuity in support, mentorship and effective educational training.

Many doctors may not receive their rota until a few days before they start their placements. This gives limited time to plan alternative arrangements for child care, schooling and other family commitments. This is unacceptable and is not compatible with caring roles outside medicine. Moreover the new contract, with insistence that weekend working becomes routine rather than on a rota basis for emergency cover as it is at present, will further exacerbate the problems that doctors with families already face in medicine. The MWF wish to ensure that the environment for service delivery is safe for Junior Doctors to deliver excellent patient care.


Travel Broadens the Mind

Print Email
02 September 2016

In March 2016 Dr Heidi Doughty was awarded the MWF Dorothy Ward International Travel Fund. Based in Birmingham, Heidi works as a part time Consultant in Transfusion Medicine and describes her professional passion as ‘Good Blood in Bad places’. She travelled to Bergen, Norway in August 2016 to research the use of whole blood in massive haemorrhage.

Why Bergen?

I chose to visit Bergen because the hospital based blood service there had recently introduced the provision of whole blood for the local Air Ambulance. The project is part of a larger programme of transfusion innovation due to the collaboration between Haukeland University Hospital, the pre-hospital community including the military, and the University. The visit gave me an opportunity to build on my own work as well as visit a transfusion system that is very different from the UK. I wanted to look at their transfusion support for haemorrhage and consider the implications of re-offering whole blood alongside component therapy in the UK. 

I was extremely fortunate to secure professional leave from NHS Blood and Transplant. However, Norway is relatively expensive. Two cups of coffee and a cookie in a café may cost over £20. So, I needed to carefully consider the living costs. I used a combination of special offers for the flight and my sponsor, Prof Tor Hervig, had secured well-priced student hostel accommodation near the hospital. It was to be a 10 m² room with: duvet but no bedding; wash basin but shared bathroom; and internet but no Wi-Fi. I needed to rethink my packing list. So I took essential eating utensils, Ethernet cable and radio. However, I confess that I arranged to borrow local hospital bedding. The room may have been small but the hostel gave me a room with a wonderful view and an introduction to the most hilarious group of international students.

bergen fish marketBergen fish market

Getting down to work

I recommend arriving before a weekend to orientate. I had been met at the airport by one of the female consultants, Torunn. Her kindness and support really made the difference. We spent the Friday on formalities, Saturday – baking at her home and on Monday I was ‘good to go’. The most important time in any new project is the first face to face meeting with the ‘boss’. It provides the reality check. Tor had been injured. Many staff were away for their summer holidays or getting ready for conferences. I have MS and although well at the moment, I get tired. However, we had Tor’s small research team including the computer genius, Joar, who immediately secured Wi-Fi connectivity for both my laptop and Smart Phone. This meant I could remotely access my work emails and documents. The Bergen team asked me to review the impact of their Acute Transfusion Package introduced in 2007. They had extracted 13 years of data but offered it to me for analysis to provide a new perspective and lead on publication.

I reviewed the data in the context of the international literature. This was really interesting as I was not familiar with the early Nordic papers and guidelines. They were really early adopters of the new paradigm of massive haemorrhage management. In the blood bank, I followed the journey of the ‘whole blood’ from the donor, through platelet sparing white cell filtration to quality control. Most of the procedures were written in Norwegian so I learnt to use Translation software. I was also introduced to their new Multiplate Analyser ® designed to analyse platelet function. During the second week I visited some of the areas dealing with massive haemorrhage including Emergency department, ITU and the Air Ambulance. The most novel activity for me was writing a travel blog for MWF. It was a really interesting combination of reflective note writing and capturing the moment.


Looking across the waterfront to the historic Bryggen area

Capture the moment

One of the things that have learned during my travels is to ‘capture the moment’. This includes collecting and dating evidence such as policy documents, procedures, your own notes and photographs. In addition, back-up all electronic records. I found it useful to summarise my initial thought and findings in a PowerPoint presentation for the project team. I also integrated some of the findings into my presentation on UK practice given to the whole Department. This generated a more dynamic exchange and ideas. An unexpected area of interest was my experience of transfusion support for the Olympics because they were preparing for a 2017 sporting events.

Travel not only broadens the mind, it enlarges your professional and personal networks. The travel fellowship has built upon my past knowledge and should inform future developments. It was only 2 and half weeks and I wish it had been longer. However, I am confident that I will continue to work with the Bergen team and revisit. This visit was designed for my benefit but I hope I added value for them as a mature practitioner from the UK. Such travel fellowships continue the strong tradition in Medicine of taking a European and global outlook. All of us, but especially our patients, benefit. I strongly recommend my colleagues to apply because to quote “You will travel to learn and return to inspire”.

air ambulance

Air ambulance coming into land

More Articles...

  1. Guest Junior Doctor Blog: Starting on the Shop Floor
  2. Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting - Public Sector Employers: Government Consultation
  3. Dr Clarissa Fabre Elected President-Elect of MWIA
  4. Dorothy Ward Travel Fund Winner - Travel Journal 2016
  5. Guest Blog: What I learnt from Medical School - Making Decisions
  6. Submit an Abstract for the MWF Autumn Conference in London
  7. Latest Statement on the Junior Doctor Contract
  8. Conference Review - Medicine at the Margins: Creative Solutions to Healthcare Challenges
  9. Junior Doctor Blog - Dr Salma Aslam
  10. Equality Watchdog Warns Junior Doctors' Contract Could be Illegal
  11. MWF Centenary Events - Register Your Interest
  12. Letter to Jeremy Hunt
  13. Blog Post - Dr Clarissa Fabre
  14. MWF Response to Equality Impact Assessment
  15. New Gender Pay Gap Report from the Women and Equalities Committee
  16. UPDATE: Response from NHS Employers
  17. MWF Statement on the Junior Doctor Contract
  18. Special RSM joining offer for MWF Members!
  19. MWF Now Offers Paperless Direct Debit!
  20. Join us in supporting MWF at the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2016!
  21. Dr Dora Black Interview - MWF Autumn Conference
  22. Jeremy Hunt Letter to MWF
  23. MWF Statement
  24. Building Resilient Leaders - Conference Review
  25. Dorothy Ward International Travel Fellowship - Now Open!
  26. Freedom of Information Request - Response
  27. Update: MWF Respond to Letter From Department of Health
  28. Department of Health's Response to MWF Letter on Junior Doctor Contract Changes
  29. Just one month to go until our Autumn Conference in London!
  30. MWF Attends Screening of Suffragette
  31. Medical Women's Federation Response to Proposed Changes to Junior Doctor Contracts
  32. Challenging the Stereotype of a Surgeon
  33. Coming soon... MWF International Travelling Fellowship
  34. Stepping Up & Speaking Out - Spring Conference Review
  35. Postgraduate Medical Students' Grants - Closed!
  36. ACCEA Clinical Excellence Awards application 2015 open!
  37. Join our Trustee Team on the MWF Council!
  38. Women's Mental Health Series - Introduction
  39. International Women’s Day March 8th 2015
  40. FGM Trial & International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM
  41. The White Coat Ceremony
  42. New! Buy someone the gift of MWF Membership this Christmas!
  43. Katherine Branson Student Essay Competition - Open!
  44. Medical Woman Cover Competition 2015
  45. A Hampstead Theatre Production: Tiger Country
  46. Dorothy Ward International Fellowship
  47. Project Pipeline: Attracting, Recruiting and Supporting Women
  48. Healthy Doctors: Healthy Patients in review - Autumn Conference 2014
  49. MWIA Northern European Regional Conference, Rungstedgaard, Denmark
  50. Applications for Medical Woman Joint Editor - Join the team!
  51. Nominations for MWF Vice President - Join the team!
  52. Pulse Power 50 2014
  53. New Research into Pre and Postnatal Exercise
  54. ACCEA Clinical Excellence Awards application open!
  55. Dr Clarissa Fabre - Report from the World Health Assembly 2014
  56. Welcome Dr Sally Davies MWF President 2014-2016
  57. Conference Review: Diversity & Medical Careers
  58. MWF Role Models Report May 2014
  59. President's blog April 2014
  60. Katherine Branson Essay Prize winners 2014
  61. MWF Response to the first prosecution against a doctor for female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain
  62. Mature Student Grant Applications 2014 - Open!
  63. Response to Daily Mail article: Why having so many women doctors is hurting the NHS...
  64. Medical Woman Cover Competition 2014
  65. Katherine Branson Essay Competition - Open!
  66. Flexible Careers Committee publishes results of 2012 Flexibility and Equality Survey
  67. President's Blog - November 2013
  68. Conference Review: Patients’ and Doctors’ Safety: Can Women Change the Culture of the NHS?
  69. The Shape of Training Review
  70. Moral Maze - Reforming Abortion Law
  71. Dame Fiona Caldicott - Can women change the culture of the NHS?
  72. MWF Members on the Pulse Power 50 list of influential GP's!
  73. MWIA 29th International Congress Seoul, South Korea
  74. Report from Clarissa Fabre, MWIA representative for the World Health Organisation
  75. Survey - Do you work for a Family-Friendly Deanery/NHS Employing Organisation?
  76. President's Blog - August 2013
  77. 3) On Sabbatical in New Zealand - MWF President Elect Dr Sally Davies tells us all...
  78. HSJ Inspirational Women List
  79. Musings for the Doctors of 2013…
  80. 2) On Sabbatical in New Zealand - MWF President Elect Dr Sally Davies tells us all...
  81. President's Blog - June 2013
  82. 1) On Sabbatical in New Zealand - MWF President Elect Dr Sally Davies tells us all...
  83. Work life balance and job flexibility is not gender specific
  84. Why are there so few female specialists in the media, and how can this be changed?
  85. President's Blog - May 2013
  86. Aspects of Pain – MWF Spring Conference 2013, Oxford
  87. Dr Fiona Cornish - Interview: 'Women need role models in General Practice'
  88. Press Release: The Department of Health Review of Regulations on Cosmetic Interventions
  89. President's Blog
  90. Welcome to the New Look MWF
  91. Career Breaks for NHS and University doctors: An analysis of the WAM database
  92. The Francis Report
  93. MWF Student International Women’s Day 2013 @ Bristol


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

Follow us on Twitter

RT @SurgeryIsFemale: The 1st European Congress of LIVE Laparoscopic, Robotic and Endourological Surgery performed ONLY by Women will be hel…
RT @OlwenOlwen: Come on #MedWomen I’m sure you can nominate an inspirational female medical student / Dr in Training @NWDoctors @WalesDeane
RT @rmmorris19: Brilliant evening on Women in Leadership at #MorristonHospital Proud to represent the #MWF and promote #MWFConf18 on Women…