Came back from conference Wednesday night – and went straight off at 6.30 next morning to the Women’s Business Forum being held in Leeds. Heather Jackson, in nine months, had brought together the key women in the region for this forum – an amazing feat.
From a government point of view (I was there to speak on what we are doing about Women on Boards) it was very very interesting. I heard a few speakers before me – one of whom was talking about the woman as purchaser. Any business listening to that speech has to know that to not have women on their board bringing that dimension to the boardroom is hitting their bottom line. And that’s the point – it’s not women for women’s sake – but it is about good business. An executive director from M&S, an academic from Cranfield who had done some amazing research on women in the FTSE and many more – all told from different vantage points – the same story. There were lots of men in attendance – and talking to the Head of Diversity at Barclays Wealth – I was much encouraged about a real feel of a change in attitude. It’s the bottom line!
Friday was firstly a visit to Duke’s Avenue GP practise – who have stepped forward to help me with my quest (pushed by the brilliant Phoenix Group for the blind and partially sighted) to change their patient IT record to flag up what format their blind and partially sighted patients want to receive information in. This dove-tails with my work with the Whittington Hospital who at their end are keen to take referrals from GPs with this information so they too can flag up on their IT system which format would be suitable. Very heartening!
Followed directly by popping into a coffee morning in Muswell Hill where a local mum had organised the annual McMillan Nurses coffee morning – to raise funds for this fantastic charity and the amazing work they do. There are few of us who are not touched by cancer at some point in our lives. McMillan nurses came to my sister’s house for the last two days of my mother’s life – and they literally were angels.
Surgery all afternoon as usual.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Highgate Counselling Service – a fantastic group who for 50 years have provided counselling for anyone in the community who needs it. Now situated in Tetherdown Halls – there is no charge – so anyone can go regardless of ability to pay. If people can afford it – then a donation is of course very welcome. Most people stumble at some point in their lives and having someone to talk to and to hold us safe at our periods of greatest vulnerability is invaluable.
And on Sunday went to say a few words at the start of the Whittington Hospital 5K charity run. This year it is to raise funds for elderly care at the hospital. There was a huge turn out – and it was a real pleasure to see (as always) how much people love the Whittington. As I have managed to fracture my foot (again) I wasn’t running – but about 450 others were!