As exam fever rises for many final year medical students (for those who have not been fortunate to have taken theirs already) the anticipation of the next big project also looms – the responsibility of that 'Dr' title which you've been so eagerly awaiting to be bestowed on you for the last 5 years or more finally becomes reality.
I cannot believe how quickly my sabbatical period here in Auckland is passing, five weeks since I arrived and the prospect of returning to the UK approaching rapidly. The luxury of a sabbatical period away from the workplace is having time to read those articles and relevant documents that you would not get the opportunity to read in the busy clinical world. There is the added benefit of digital technology to keep up with rapidly occurring events at home and face-to-face contact with family and friends.
The opportunity to take a sabbatical, like lottery wins, is something that happens to other people. Attending conferences overseas and giving presentations about the medical educational work in Wales has led me to meet many interesting and fascinating people; they are also interested in finding the best methods to support doctors in their training years and beyond. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a sabbatical period away from the clinical workplace to share experience and challenges with others in other cultures?
Headlines exposing the claimed failings of the NHS have been coming in thick and fast this month, but the one which took the biscuit was "Women GPs are a burden to the NHS". Woman's Hour contacted MWF on this topic, after we put the comments of Ann McIntosh, MP, on our website, and I found myself in conversation with Jenni Murray and the Health Minister, Anna Soubry. Naturally, there had been some journalistic misrepresentation, and Anna Soubry several times agreed with my points. I stressed that men and women both wish to work less than full time; that women are good value to the health service if they can work part time at critical phases, and then return to work and stay until retirement; workforce planning needs to adapt to reflect the changing work patterns in society, allowing young men and women to participate in bringing up their families. If you would like to listen, click here
Tweets were flying round the country last week from the Oxford MWF meeting, Aspects of Pain, reporting on "a room full of kickass women". It was certainly a buzzing meeting with over 100 people attending. You can read Helen MacMullen's excellent report on the website. The Oxford team, with Kate Chalmers at the helm, did a fantastic job and we are all very grateful to everyone involved. Highlights included Peggy Frith on Athena SWAN awards, Jane Moore on Chronic Pelvic Pain, Raymond Tallis on Assisted Dying, Mike Sharpe on Chronic Fatigue as well as our prize winning student essay writer and student abstract presenters.