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March 8, 2024

‘We are in a unique position to educate and empower’: Bolton NHS staff talk supporting women

  • International Women’s Day 2024 sees Bolton staff share stories on empowering women
  • Theme for 2024 is ‘Inspire Inclusion’
  • Trust has developed initiatives to improve health and care information women receive

Inspirational women at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust are sharing stories about their career in healthcare and supporting other women to make informed health choices, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day.

Each year individuals and organisations mark the day to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity.

The theme for 2024 is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, which calls on everyone to create a better world with a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

Healthcare staff are in a privileged position to help women and girls make informed decisions about their health and inspire others to consider a career where they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Sophie Kimber-Craig qualified from medical school in 2000, and in 2021 became the Trust’s Associate Medical Director.

I am fortunate to have had a successful career, but there have been these challenges along the way, and it is important that we recognise disadvantage that people might experience during their lives and work collectively to eradicate that.

Sophie Kimber Craig at work

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievement of women, despite any disadvantage they may have had, and to show other people what is possible.

Sophie is also a consultant anaesthetist at the Trust and is passionate about addressing under-investment in research and interventions for healthcare problems that only affect women.

I see it as essential that we are always challenging ourselves about whether we are prejudging people on the basis of protected characteristics and how we can individually and collectively can work to reduce the impact of adverse bias on healthcare outcomes.

Throughout the organisation, Bolton staff are striving to find ways of improving health outcomes for women at every stage of their life.

Waheeda Abbas, a Specialist Liaison Cultural Midwife at the Trust who has focused her time on supporting pregnant women, said:

I am living the dream of being a midwife and being able to improve outcomes in maternal health for black and south Asian communities and embed genomics across the midwifery profession that can also improve maternal and neonatal outcomes for the region.

Waheeda Abbas

It’s really important that we make sure women have informed choices about their health. Women who have access to education are more likely to lead and empower other women. Education will give them a foundation in making informed decisions and choices about their health and well-being, and this will lead to healthier futures for themselves and their families.

Teams are working to develop their services so that Bolton’s diverse female population receive equal access to potentially life-saving care.

Lisa Hutton, Interim Divisional Head of Therapies at the Trust, said:

It is incredibly important that women and girls have the right information based on both knowledge and experience to support them in making informed decisions about their health and to empower them to take charge of managing their health needs.

Lisa Hutton

Bolton has an extremely diverse population and we have some fantastic teams within the organisation working innovatively to adapt their approach and effectively support women and girls within different groups and communities, such as our Adult Learning Disabilities Service who are working to increase the uptake of cervical screening within the female learning disability population to improve their health outcomes.

A number of new initiatives have been introduced since the start of the year to improve the information women receive when accessing the Trust’s services.

The Breast Unit at Royal Bolton Hospital is trialling new animated videos to improve patient information about surgical procedures for breast cancer.

Funded by Our Bolton NHS Charity, the twelve-month pilot will provide patients with access to online videos by ‘Explain My Procedure’, which explain different breast operations, their benefits and risks, and any alternative management options.

Community midwives from Bolton NHS Foundation Trust are also hosting a second information session on Thursday 21 March 2024 for parents who are considering a home birth.

Rosie Connor, Deputy Divisional Director of Operations for Anaesthetics and Surgical Services, said:

As those responsible for the health services that women access, we are in a unique position to educate, empower, and enable.

Rosie Connor

It is important to recognise how vital women’s health is to our society and the wider impact of poor health outcomes for women, for example in care around pregnancy and early years.

“Women are often strong role models for their families and therefore the decisions they make have the potential to be perpetuated through generations.

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