EON Committee Update

The Renal Association has set up a new EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN NEPHROLOGY (EON) COMMITTEE, and Dr Alison Brown (Consultant Nephrologist at Freeman Hospital Newcastle) has been appointed as the first Chair.

The Equal Opportunities in Nephrology Committee has been created as a result of the Renal Association’s commitment to support and develop equality of opportunity in nephrology in the UK. The EON Committee will respond initially to the recommendations of Baroness Deech’s 2009 report “Women Doctors: making a difference” by improving access to mentoring and career advice for female nephrologists, and encouraging women in leadership.

We recognize that equal opportunities issues can apply to men as well, so although much of our initial focus will be on females in nephrology, the firm intention is not to be exclusive and to address equal opportunity concerns wherever they arise. The EON Committee will also liase with and act as a conduit for exchange of ideas between nephrologists from all arenas which are under represented at leadership levels in dealings with the RA Executive Committee.

The real and perceived difficulties of full time or LTFT working as a trainee or consultant nephrologist may partly explain the reduced numbers of applicants for ST3 posts in nephrology in the 2010 national application rounds.  Trainees can see that all nephrologists, male and female, full time and LTFT, clinical and academic, trainees, consultants and NCGs, struggle to find a reasonable work-life balance at all stages of their career. Furthermore, workforce predictions show an excess of CCT holders compared to predicted consultant posts in nephrology – which must influence career choice in these recession –hit times.

This won’t be easy to influence but encouraging mentoring and support and maximizing opportunities for all entrants to nephrology – especially those who have hitherto been less likely to achieve power and influence – is where we will start. We plan to identify potential mentors for female academic, clinical and LTFT trainees, non-consultant grade (SAS) as well as newly appointed consultants, with contact details to be available via the EON webpage.

We will shortly be asking for your help with a brief survey to try to establish the current availability of mentoring for nephrologists to help us set up improved systems in future.

Key date for the diaries of all nephrologists, academics and trainees who like to network –the inaugural EON dinner will be held at the Renal Association 2011 Birmingham meeting, at Opus Restaurant on the evening of Monday 6th June. Professor Debbie Sharp, Professor of Primary Care in Bristol, has agreed to speak at the dinner on 6th June. Debbie has a superb track record in clinical and academic medicine and has been a champion for women in medicine- her talk will inspire and motivate us all!

Please put this date in your diaries now and come along to get networking on the night – we need everyone to do their best to support this initiative to make it work!!

A.L.Brown, Feb 2011