'Supporting the welfare, rights and inclusion of chronically ill and physically disabled doctors and medical students'
Meet the Team
Network Lead and website author/designer
Kelly is a retained GP in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Prior to this she worked as a locum GP in the same region. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and their young daughter. Kelly has Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and is a full-time wheelchair user. She became symptomatic during medical school and her mobility started to be significantly affected during her FY1 year. Kelly has always been passionate about improving support for disabled doctors in the UK in order to avoid colleagues experiencing the same problems that she did during her training. She has been involved with the GMC work since contacting them and helped to inform the review of guidance and development of ‘Welcomed and Valued’. She has also helped in the development of a number of other GMC resources on their website and featured in the BBC News feature to publicise the new GMC guidance in July 2018
Astrid came to the UK in 2015 and graduated as a doctor from the University of Groningen in 2010. She used to be a Registrar in Elderly Care in the Netherlands, but followed her husband, who is a Consultant Radiologist, to the UK. Astrid planned to apply for Histopathology training but unfortunately, due to her hearing impairment, she met many challenges in the UK and had to work as a locum agency doctor in several departments and her training application also encountered many problems.
Hearing impairment is an invisible disability and can cause problems in communication which might increase the chance in becoming discriminated against. Astrid joined our Network because she hopes to help doctors with a disability build a career without dealing with discrimination. She hopes to put the difficult experiences she has encountered to a positive use in supporting doctors in similar situations to avoid the challenges she herself, ended up facing.
Anil has been a Consultant Radiologist since 1994. He was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis when he was a Registrar in radiology in Glasgow and has lived with it most of his adult life. Since fusion of his neck in 2005, he has limited rotation of his neck.
Anil has been involved in the Team from the outset and is very passionate about improving support for disabled doctors, eliminating any disability discrimination and creating equal opportunities for all disabled doctors. Anil believes that disabled doctors have a lot to contribute to medicine and help fostering more empathic patient care because of their own experiences as patients.
He is member of the BMA National Council, UK Consultants Committee and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group. Anil is a Nye Bevan Graduate from the NHS Leadership Academy with ethos of Inclusive Leadership deeply rooted in him. He is a member of the WDES Technical Advisory Group at the NHS England. He is also a member of the NHS Leadership Academy Senior BME Influencers Group. He is the founding Chair of the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group since 2011 and leads the Cross-Cultural Communication Skills and Cultural Humility Training Programme. He has recently launched a unique Patient to Patient Support Initiative (PaPSI) to support new breast cancer patients as well as survivors. He is spearheading the breast cancer awareness campaign especially in ethnic minority and deprived communities.
Anil was awarded Certificate in recognition of services to UHSM in 2009, Life Fellowship of the BMA in 2013, HSJ Top 50 BME Pioneer Award in 2014, Health and Social Care BME Network Embrace Award in 2015 for outstanding service and promoting equality and diversity in the NHS and was nominee for AFSA (Asian Fire Service Association) Awards and Windrush 70 Awards in 2018.
Network member and GMC Clinical Fellow
Charlotte is a post foundation year doctor currently working as a clinical fellow at the GMC. Prior to this she studied a Masters in Public Health in Harvard and is hoping to train in this speciality.
Charlotte developed significant joint problems during medical school, had two knee operations and completed the latter years of her degree on crutches. To cope with the mobility challenges of working, Charlotte used a wheelchair and worked part time throughout foundation training.
Charlotte is passionate about supporting people with disability to be able to engage with life as much as those without chronic health problems. As such she created Disabled Access Glasgow a website, Facebook and twitter community designed to review the accessibility of social spaces (restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs) in Glasgow and beyond. This also became a forum for sharing lifestyle tips and advice for people with disabilities.
Charlotte is delighted to be able to contribute to the development of the GMC’s ‘Welcomed and Valued’ guidance and will be speaking on this topic at the BMA conference in November 2018
Ellen is a UK medical student who is really passionate about widening access to medicine. As a medical student with a long term health condition, she remembers feeling so isolated and scared thinking she would be the only one. She was diagnosed with pulmonary lymphangiectasia as a child which has left her with limited and fluctuating mobility. She is keen to explore and talk about life as a medical student
Heike came to the UK as an abled bodied Junior House Officer in 1995 to become an Anaesthetist. Unfortunately, she contracted severe Hepatitis A early in her training. She had a complicated recovery which later required a career change. She has been diagnosed with PVFS/ME/CFS and suffers from severe migraines. Since her illness and throughout her career Heike believes she has at different times experienced the very best and the very worst of care and support as a doctor patient and disabled colleague in the NHS. She qualified as a GP in 2010 has since then predominantly worked as a GP locum and as a sessional GP for the regional OOH service
Her experiences have enhanced and enriched her interactions with patients but have also led to her feeling isolated within the profession. She is passionate about promoting a more caring and inclusive culture in the medical profession and better more readily available compassionate confidential medical support for doctors with any type of health issues across the UK. She is keen to turn her negative experiences into positive educational action and support for others
Heike was previously a member with Doctors Support Network and one of the authors and co-creators of the Book “Doctors as Patient” by Radcliffe Publishing group. Heike has helped inform the recent review of the GMC consultation on the “welcomed and valued” guidance. She also has made contributions to the BMA Bulling and Harassment project in 2018 through feedback and sharing her experiences. She joined our network and wrote the section on “How to respond when challenged” for the website
Jen has dual training numbers in Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine. Shortly before commencing Anaesthetic training in 2008 Jen had a skiing accident. Complications from surgery left her with limited mobility. Jen is predominantly a wheelchair user but can stand and take a few steps. All of her speciality training has been undertaken LTFT post accident. She feels her experience of an accident, complications from surgery and disability enhance her ability to practice effectively as a caring doctor rather than hinder it so she is keen to support and promote doctors with disabilities. Participation in disability sport has lead her to take part in numerous events including the Lena marathon in Kenya, the Arch to Arc ultra triathlon and the Invictus Games wining a total of 18 medals for handcycling, swimming and wheelchair racing. In 2017 she took up para canoe and qualified for the World Championships. She firmly believes that disability might define what you can’t do, but the only limit on what you can do is your imagination, so push your boundaries and make the most of every day
Philippa is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in the Mersey Deanery. She is keen to see the development of a more structured, inclusive and accepting approach to those who find themselves in need of support at any stage in their medical career. Balancing one's health and one's career is tough. She believes that if we are able to better recognise and appreciate the needs of our colleagues, this will promote a more compassionate and beneficial service for our patients.
Sara was consultant in palliative medicine at Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge until May 2012. She developed SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) when she was 30 – just as she was about to take up her senior registrar post at Sir Michael Sobell House/John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford.
She has a particular interest in fluctuating conditions – so many of these are autoimmune and affect young people during their time at school, university, early or in their mid-career. Surprisingly little research has been done in this area, although they present some particular difficulties for employment, especially in the health service. Sara is surprised that the NHS (and the health unions) do not lead the way in helping people with these conditions stay in work with the best health possible. She hopes that will change in the future, and thinks there are promising signs of this now happening.
Sophie is a junior doctor – an FY2, currently working in Bristol. She has a non-progressive generalised muscle weakness which affects all skeletal muscle groups to varying degrees. This impacts mainly on her mobility and stamina, in that she finds walking long distances tiring and Sophie uses a mobility scooter to get around the hospital which helps reduce her fatigue.
Sophie feels that improving opportunities and access to medicine for people with disabilities is long overdue, and the medical profession needs to come into line with other professions who are actively encouraging those with disabilities to apply. She thinks we need to re-define what it is to have a disability and show that we all have invaluable insights into what it’s like to be a patient – which has undoubtedly made her a more empathic doctor. She thinks that educating existing doctors is fundamental to reduce discrimination and promote positive attitudes towards disability in medicine and we are very happy to have her on board our team.