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HSJ celebrates women in healthcare

This week HSJ will be celebrating women in healthcare, focusing on female leaders and featuring a list of 50 most inspirational women in the sector.

Do we have enough women in leadership positions? What can be done to encourage them? Is the NHS doing enough? What do men and women think about this issue? We will aim to cover all these topics in the form of surveys, articles, opinion pieces, interviews and podcasts.

On Monday, Dr Penny Newman and Ruth Sealy look at ensuring equal opportunities for women in medicine. Former NHS London chief Ruth Carnall discusses the three most importan lessons from her career in the health service.

There is also a Q&A with Heather Williams, founder of ScienceGrrl, on how she got into medical physics and about what can be done to encourage more women to join the profession.

Tuesday and Wednesday will see articles by Valerie Bevan and Jenny Rogers on subtle sexism and interview techniques respectively. Dr Judith Smith, director of policy at the Nuffield Trust, argues that the NHS has not thought deeply enough about what type of leaders it wants for the future − or how to get them. Also, listen to podcasts by Dr Emma Stanton women entrepreneurs and Sara Khan on a new generation of female leaders; and read about Anna Dugdale’s journey to the top − and the challenges, opportunities and attractions it entailed.

There is also a Q&A with Heather Tierney-Moore on how she became chief executive of a trust and her grandmother’s roots as a suffragette.

On Wednesday evening, we reveal our list of 50 most inspirational women in healthcare, with Karen Lynas, one of the judges, explaining the judging criteria.  

HSJ, along with the King’s Fund, have conducted a survey on female health leaders. Claire Read analyses the results, explaining why they are a cause for both optimism and concern. She also speaks to NHS England clinical director Celia Ingham Clark on the latter’s leadership style and essential attributes for the job. In an exclusive podcast, Ruth Sealy tells Nosmot Gbadamosi what lessons the healthcare can learn from the FTSE100.  

On Friday, Suzanne Rastrick, director of quality at Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, speaks to Shreshtha Trivedi on the importance of role models and mentors. Bernie Cuthel, chief executive of Liverpool Community Health Trust, writes about the challenges of being a female chief executive. And Polly Jones, a regulatory performance manager at King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, argues “Generation Y” should be better represented on boards.

Meanwhile, scientists Elly Castellano and Sue Edyvean share their views on leadership, inspirational figures, and the myth that science and mathematics are only for geeks.

Join in the discussion on our website, as well as on Twitter and LinkedIn, and give us your feedback. Our hashtag is #HSJWomen.  

More from HSJ women’s week

Readers' comments (21)

  • Jagtar Singh

    Well done HSJ in supporting this important agenda
    just when some us were feeling equality was falling of the Radar

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  • Jagtar, if you were a nurse, you'd realise that equality is for managers and board executives, not for the bulk of NHS staff. I've never felt less like celebrating the role of women in the NHS in the light of my experience as a nurse.

    But I might raise a smile if they ever managed to find anyone with the good sense and determination of Florence Nightingale! She'd be lucky to last 3 months in today's NHS - she never toed any party line and could never resist telling it like it was. She'd have been a priority target for another NHS gagging order... but her words from the 1870s still inspire me and her management actually worked for patients.

    Imagine that....

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  • So if you are on the list you are inspirational and if you are not where does that put you?

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  • Roy Lilley

    as the majority of staff are women should we have a 'man' prize for the minority! :-)

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  • Sorry Roy my vote would defintely not be for you, however I can think of one or two women who might not be on the current list e.g.

    Cynthia Bowers ex CQC
    Christine Outram, currently NHS England's Director of Intelligence and IT [whatever that might be] given that she would not know how to switch on a PC on or even turn it off never mind find the print tab] . God help us blue blooded males currently in or sadly out of the best public service ever.

    Re answering Roy Lilley's personal plea; how about Alan Langlands or indeed Bryan Harrison for those old enough to remember them both and those that like me who stuill regard them as the best of the best by far!

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  • Good on you Jagtar, I agree with your views entirely!!!!

    God help us males and those who work in this service!!!!

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  • Thats the management training scheme for you! It churns out clones who get plum jobs by virtue of being on the scheme through the old boys and girls networks regardless of their experience/ competence.

    Yes there are a few good people pop out from the scheme, but there are others who talk the talk and flit from job to job on the back of the schemes reputation, moving on before they get found out, while other more competent individuals are overlooked - yes Im bitter :-)

    I hope that one of the outcomes of Francis will be to look at the contribution of the scheme to the current ills in the NHS as I've worked for some hopeless ex management trainees

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  • agree with you 11.58, the regional bod for the MTS advised me not to do it many years ago, saying I had enough experience from the private sector, it wasn't until I'd been in the NHS for a few years til I saw it was nothing to do with learning but everything to do with networking. Saw the same meteoric rise of mediocrity and my desire to grimly see it through like a loyal supporter cheering on their ever losing team just crumbled in the face of my last boss who took immense pride in telling me she'd been a head girl. Things went downhill rapidly ever after. But the thing is, which are worse, the inner MTS circle, or Gateway scheme crowd?!

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  • Celebrate women in healthcare? Let me see: Patricia Hewitt? Cynthia Bowyer? Jo Williams? Carol Black? Barbara Hakin? The dozens and dozens of NHS (and other fields) quangocrat queens created since NuLabour came to power in 1997? Women as dedicated nurses and frontline clinical staff, yes - but in positions of responsibility and power - no. OK, a broad generalisation, but this is what we are talking about. Stuff your "Diversity & Equality" claptrap: everyone knows that there is too much oestrogen at middle management level in the NHS, but no-one can say it.

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  • And the white male bullies? Gosh, I can't think of any. All that oestrogen's gone straight to my head. I must lie down with a damp cloth over my eyes. Maybe it's the change.

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  • It is disturbing to read comments like this in this day and age. It illustrates just how far we have to go.

    If we are measuring competency on gender alone look at the figures: two highly reputable 360 feedback surveys of 1,386 and 7,280 leaders showed women outperformed men on all or the majority (12/16) of competencies respectively that go into outstanding leadership.

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  • So what, they [women] probably designed the assessment scheme in the first place!!

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  • What a disgusting display of sexist attitudes from some of our male colleagues!

    I'm ashamed of some of these comments. They've no place here. The enthusiasm to point out selected women who have failed in senior posts disregards generations of men who have done no better.

    Nobody supports failure or those who use their networks rather than honest ability to get top jobs. But this discussion demonstrates the discrimination is blatant and unashamed in NHS management.

    It is reflected in the Keogh and Francis reports showing that nursing as a female dominated workforce was disregarded as a key determinant of patient outcomes and left underfunded and poorly managed. When we're all facing public outrage over this, perhaps I need to point out that some sexist attitudes kill patients.

    Get a grip, chaps.

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  • Wow, I'm astonished by some of these comments - why so much bile and bitterness about a positive piece of news that is just about recognising some successes? We don't need the legions of people outside the NHS lining up to criticise us if we're so quick to rip each other apart.

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  • I was reading most of these posts with a sinking heart, Jagtar and Karen thanks for your reflections. The only comment i feel compelled to challenge is that of Anon 2.43 15 July 2013. I would strongly challenge you to recognise that equality is for everyone in the NHS, particularly those who work on a day in day out basis providing care to patients and their families.

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  • What a sad day many negative comments when this list offers examples of so many inspirational healthcare leaders ...Does it really matter whether they are women ....they are all people who deserve our congratulations and respect for the efforts and achievements .. The only negative comment I would offer is that the list was not longer as there are so many others who surely deserve to be included. As Karen points out ,,,,we are ripping each other apart at just the time a when those working in healthcare are in need of some confidence boosting recognition .. Well done HSJ ...and all those on the list !!!

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  • What about Clare Gerada, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, who did the BMA's job for them by singlehandedly taking on the government for their reform of the NHS? Then, the BMA woke up.

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  • Dont forget boys and girls, this is a only a list of people selected from those who were nominated. Many inspirational NHS people quietly get on with the day job, operating in a culture where this type of 'celebration' is not part of the culture and without the need for self promotion. I say well done all those nominated by their peers and a special well done to the great majority of inspitaional people, male and female, who have not been singled out. cheers!

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  • so just how many nominations were there?

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  • What I take issue with is the HSJ's approach to presenting the awards in the journal. It's good to see photos of real nurses and real women on the front page, why on earth did you have to add in not one but two photos of fictional nurses & Carry On ones at that? Haven't we moved on from those out-dated, paternalistic representations yet?

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