Women in Medicine Carers Network

The Health and Care Women Leaders Network is highlighting women's networks in our sector.

4 October 2023

Dr Raka Maitra, lead of the Women in Medicine Carers Network, tells us more about the network, what it has achieved and how you can support and get involved.

About the network

The Women in Medicine Carers Network (WoMedCaN) is an informal network of doctors with complex caring responsibilities. 

Inadequate workplace policies alongside limitations in education and social care, make juggling work in healthcare challenging. Ten doctor mums who have successfully navigated this arduous path formed this informal network in 2021 to raise awareness of caring responsibilities amongst NHS senior leaders and decision-makers. 

Members come from diverse medical backgrounds such as psychiatry, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, pathology, primary care, acute medicine and endocrinology. One member has achieved an OBE for their professional contribution and another has established an online peer support group for doctor mums with caring responsibilities. The network recognises that the issues don’t only affect women, and raises awareness to seek policy changes to support doctors and all healthcare workers. 

The specific challenges that doctors have within the healthcare system are varied. These include the small number working within clinical teams, out of hours working patterns, and holding the maximum clinical risk within teams. These factors, combined with existing biases about capacity and competencies of doctors who are carers, makes it challenging to formulate policies to support this valuable group. Working carers bring a professional understanding of service delivery complexity, alongside invaluable lived experience as service users.


Our priorities are to Educate, Improve and Empower. 

Through raising awareness we seek to educate NHS management about the challenges staff with caring responsibilities have, and their right to work within the EDI framework.

We seek to influence policies to improve work and training to accommodate the needs of staff with caring responsibilities, while supporting them in their career progression.

With our informal peer support networks, we continue to empower doctors with complex caring responsibilities. However, empowerment of staff with caring responsibilities also needs to include flexibility in both training and work; changes in policies especially related to work and leave; supporting alternate career paths; and representation at Board level where the lived experience perspective can be shared.


During the 15 months since inception, our executive Board  have had productive meetings with the CEO of NHS Employers; the Head of Flexible Working for NHSE&I; the NHSE National Programme Lead for Medical Workforce Retention; the NHSE National Improving health and Wellbeing Lead; and the CEO of the Practitioner Health Programme to name a few.

Our network was invited to present at the Inclusive Community Practice event on Carers by the National Health and Wellbeing Team from the NHSE Peoples’ Directorate.

Our Executive Board Members in their individual capacities have:

What next 

We will continue to advocate and network with senior leadership in the NHS aiming for staff with complex caring responsibilities to become a permanent focus within the framework of NHS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We are advocating for a Carer Confident NHS to include both carers of service users and carers within its staff. 

Get involved 

We look forward to hearing from NHS trusts. We encourage cares networks within NHS trusts to contact us at to learn more about how to support staff with caring responsibilities and to highlight good practice examples. 

Feature in our series

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