Anita Sharma

Anita was born in New Delhi, India on 25 September 1952 and acquired her medical training and postgraduate qualification in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India. She came to the UK in April 1978 to join her husband who had come a few months earlier to take his MRCP examination. She intended to return to India once she had completed her MRCOG (Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists). She was pregnant when she arrived in England. Anita joined her husband who was working as a senior house officer in Leighton Hospital in Crewe. Her first child, a daughter was born in May of that year. She got her first job in obstetrics and gynaecology at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, starting in November 1978. As her husband began to rise fairly quickly through his medical career, getting a Consultant post within five years, the family decided to stay in the UK. The choice was then between being a stay-at-home mum or making a full time commitment to her medical career and she decided to go into General Practice, qualifying in 1983 and taking over a practice in 1985 in Oldham where she has worked ever since. She believes that it takes a strong will and hard work to achieve aspirations and as a mother of two children has always worked full time. Anita strongly believes that women doctors cannot have it all and has spent a lot of money on childcare and help in her home. Although she has a medical degree she knows that if her husband had not also supported her, she would not have achieved what she has.

Anita is an undergraduate trainer attached to the University of Manchester, a Family Planning trainer and GP appraiser of NHS Oldham. She has written three books and a fourth one is due to be published soon. She also writes for GP, Pulse and, BMA magazine. She is the GP editor of British Journal of Medical Practitioners. She has served as a Local Medical Committee locality member for the last 7 years and is also the editor of the local LMC news letter. She organises various fund raising activities and is also involved in a lot of charity work, raising money for Cancer Research. The royalty raised by her recently written book on COPD in Primary care goes to Breath Easy Oldham. She is also the secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Manchester division and president of BMA Rochdale division. With her recent role as a clinical director in vascular and medicine management with Oldham CCG, Anita believes the new NHS with the new commissioning agenda is in the right place at the right time. Improving women’s health is high on her agenda and she is going to donate the royalty of her recently written book to ovarian charity. Both her children are doctors and that makes her a proud mum. 

We need more role models for women doctors

I arrived in England in April 1978 and had my first child born by caesarean section in May 1978. New in England, I had no friends. During visiting time, in the maternity ward, I was the only one who had no visitor. My husband came only when he was not on call − those days the on call rota used to be one in two. Seeing the tears in my eyes the midwife would come and talk to me. I believe it takes a strong will and hard work to achieve what we aspire to. What’s important is to have confidence in your abilities. But where are the women doctor’s role models? As a woman doctor it can be difficult to do justice to your family, children and profession. I suppose I have been lucky.

Anita Sharma

India