International Women’s Day – Dr. Sureena Goutam
My journey into becoming a GP.
I was born locally in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital to a GP and a Practice Manager.
I have always been in awe of the way my parents continually strived to improve the way in which they delivered care to their patient population. Coupled with a level of intelligence and compassion I’ve found inspirational I couldn’t have asked for better mentors for my journey into becoming a GP and CCG board GP representative.
Growing up with parents of Asian origin I was often told that in order to succeed I not only had to work hard but harder than others of non-ethnic minority backgrounds. I am sure others from similar backgrounds can relate! Additionally, they both disregarded the gender stereotyping they had experienced of the expectation of women’s work roles….my mother loved to work and took some convincing to retire!
I am very fortunate to have not perceived any such blocks in my career progression, but nonetheless the work ethic they instilled in me has helped me to succeed to where I am today. It does however reflect the bias and discrimination they and others must have encountered. I thank all those who have battled for equality so I and others have not had to. I too, in turn, am grateful to do what I can to help break the bias.
In addition to the encouragement from my parents I believe it is invaluable to have support from peers, mentors and being part of teams. Although I have taken a step back from the front line this year to have my first child, I could not be prouder to be representing an incredible group of primary care clinicians working across BLMK.
In addition, I have a wonderful team at the CCG who have been caring and compassionate in allowing me some flexibility to find my feet as a new mother, whilst wanting to still contribute in my role.
To that end, I have also reflected on my own unconscious bias in doubting what I could do whilst being a mum! I am blessed to have had a great deal of support which I will continue to draw upon for my next challenges: returning to the frontline, reducing our BLMK carbon emissions to improve air pollution, our health and wellbeing and lastly but not least…at some point the dreaded potty training!
As a last note, I wonder if anyone noticed I did not mention which job roles my mother and father filled? I suspect most, including myself, would assume my father was the doctor and my mother the manager. I will leave that thought with you and reflect on it myself… #BreakTheBias