If you are interested in a role in the world of women’s health, there are some fabulous opportunities open at the moment. For anyone looking to volunteer, the Women’s Network which I chair at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has some spaces. It’s a fantastic group of dynamic women committed to improving women’s health experiences, and members must be able to commit at least two full days at the College (in central London) every three months when meetings take place. New members of the Network will be expected to become involved in the work of a committees relating to RCOG’s work too, and to have regular email contact. It is a big ask, but it’s an extremely rewarding and interesting role and a chance to make a real difference. There are more details here
There are also two jobs at the charity Fertility Network UK. One is a short-term cover role for a co-ordinator for the charity for the whole of England, which is an amazing job. The other is for a co-ordinator for More to Life, the part of the charity which works for people who are childless, after stopping treatment or deciding not to have it – a really important role.There are some fabulous people working for the charity and you will have great colleagues. If you are interested, you can find out more here.
If the promotion of equality and diversity is something you feel passionate about, you may be interested in the opportunity to join the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Equality and Diversity Committee. The RCOG is looking for doctors and lay members to join the committee which was set up in 2014 to monitor the way the College works.
This is a voluntary role and involves joining four two hour meetings a year which are held by video conference and take place on weekday afternoons. If it’s something you think may be of interest to you, you can find more details here about the Committee and what is involved
There’s a very exciting opportunity to help inform the new curriculum for specialist doctors who are training in gynaecology and obstetrics. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is looking for a range of people to join a new public insight group to help identify the communication skills and clinical knowledge that doctors need to give the best possible care.
The curriculum is updated every so often to ensure that new evidence or technology is taken into account, and the RCOG is committed to involving people who use services in all aspects of their work. Although the expertise of experienced doctors is vital, it is just as important to involve service users to hear what knowledge and skills they feel specialists of tomorrow should have.
The Public Insight Group will aim to include people from across the UK with a variety of needs and experiences. It may also include representation from individuals who have particular understanding of the needs of specific communities and can represent the experiences and needs of those groups effectively. There will be a core group of around 20 people who will meet face-to-face for an initial workshop session. After this, the group will be coordinated mainly by email as the new curriculum develops.
A wider consultation group will bring a broader pool of views into the project. This group will only be involved by email. Both the core and the wider group will play a crucial role in informing the new curriculum over the next year. Both groups will be communicated with regularly to gain insight and feedback will be given to members about how the new curriculum is progressing.
For more details about what is involved and to see whether this is something you may be interested in, see here
I’m really delighted to be able to let you know that I’ve been appointed as the first Women’s Voices Lead at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – you can find out more about that here and about the Women’s Voices Involvement Panel itself here. I think it’s a really exciting time at the RCOG where there is a genuine commitment to listen to women’s voices – but do read more on the website and let me know what you think!
If you look on fertility websites, you’ll often find people discussing reproductive immunology or their NK cell tests and results. What’s often not clear from the discussions is the fact that the reason many fertility specialists don’t offer this kind of treatment is because they don’t believe there is any scientific evidence to back up the theories.
This picture above is apparently an NK cell – I can’t imagine they are quite that purple in colour, but it gives them just the kind of slightly sinister look that the name conjures up. In fact, as Dr Norman Shreeve from Cambridge University explains in the latest edition of the BioNews online newsletter, the name is misleading as the cells play a key role in early pregnancy,
If you’re thinking of looking into having your NK cells tested, or taking some of the treatments currently offered in this field, you should first read the information on the HFEA website and a scientific impact paper on the subject from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which is more complex but also concludes that there is little evidence to support the use of these treatments and that their use should be restricted to research trials.
Are you passionate about women’s health? Would like to use your own experience of fertility issues or a gynaecological condition to have a real influence and help improve things for other women in the future?
If so, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) would like to invite you to join their brand new Women’s Voices Involvement Panel.
The panel will be a way of involving you as a member of the public in the work of the College and the wider women’s health sector. The RCOG believes that by talking to women and those who care for them; listening to their experiences, views and ideas about obstetrics and gynaecology services, they can improve the way things are done.
If you are interested, you will receive your first monthly email newsletter later this month that will tell you about opportunities there are to be involved in the College’s work. It may be commenting on a leaflet that the College is developing or to completing a survey on a particular subject. Most of the opportunities will be virtual, meaning that you will be able to get involved through email. Some opportunities may be more of a commitment – like becoming involved in a working group or committee, either at the RCOG or for the NHS. All opportunities will be voluntary but expenses will be covered if you are required to travel to take part. The idea is that the panel is a flexible approach to being involved so you can choose opportunities that suit you. Some issues may not be relevant nor of interest to you so you needn’t respond.
As the panel progresses over its first six months the email newsletter will be used to feed back how you have had an influence so that you can actually see that what you say is being taken into account.
If you are keen to be a part of the panel the next step is for you to sign up. Below is a link which will ask you for some contact details and some information about yourself. Some of the information such as your postcode, age and ethnic background may seem personal and you don’t have to answer. However if you are comfortable in doing so it will just help monitor membership to ensure there is an even spread of women from various backgrounds, locations and ages and with varying experiences. The information you provide will be treated as confidential and won’t be shared with any third party.
If you don’t know much about the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists you can visit the website www.rcog.org.uk to find out more about what the College does. Although the College is a membership organisation for doctors who specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology, there is also a dedicated section of the website entitled Patients which you may find of interest.