International Women’s Day Spotlight – Dr Sarah Whiteman – Clinical Chair BLMK CCG
“I am a 58y female doctor, realistically in the final half of my life and approaching the end of my career. I have never felt as empowered nor as able to give and accept support to and from colleagues. These are good times in which to be or express oneself as a woman and I am proud to do so.
I trained at the Royal free Hospital, part of the London School of Medicine in London, the first to allow women to become fully qualified doctors. It was established by Sophia Jex Blake, part of a group of pioneering women physicians and her legacy was the reason I applied there. In 1984 I was commissioned as an RAF officer and I undertook a medical cadet ship followed by a short service commission, completing my military career as a Squadron Leader Senior Medical Officer. At that time, although I was unaware, female officers were paid a significant amount less than male counterparts, pregnancy resulted in cessation of your service, and it was against Queen’s Regulations (QRs) to be involved in a same sex relationship.
The latter issue was why I re-joined the NHS. Now happily civilly partnered with Janet, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, we have been lucky to be offered many opportunities to thrive as people offering care to patients and also as leaders within BLMK.
These are some of the reasons I celebrate being a woman today and as a senior clinical leader I believe that it is my responsibility to follow the example of the Suffragettes in the early 20th Century and continue to fight for what we know to be right; next step to eradicate racism and promote the values of equality and diversity even more effectively!”